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New justice sworn in

Former Idaho Attorney General Jim Jones donned the black robe and took his seat Monday as Idaho’s newest state Supreme Court justice. After Chief Justice Gerald F. Schroeder administered the oath of office to Jones, there were some remarks by people who have known and worked with Jones over the years.

Among them: Attorney Jack McMahon, who recalled the day many years ago when Jones called him at the Public Utilities Commission to ask why he hadn’t applied for the job of chief deputy to the attorney general. “I said I didn’t have one of the necessary credentials,” McMahon recalled, “… I didn’t have an ‘R’ after my name.”

Jones, a Republican, made it clear that McMahon was to do the job, and “never to let politics have anything to do with it,” McMahon recalled. “His first and foremost client was the people of the state of Idaho.”

McMahon also said word has it that a former Supreme Court justice was welcomed to the court because he’d reduce its workload, because the attorney in question had brought so many appeals to the high court. “If anybody’s brought more appeals than Jim Jones, I don’t know who,” McMahon said. “He’s been up here 27 times in the last 10 years, and won 17 of them.”

Attorney Clive Strong recalled Jones’ penchant for practical jokes, particularly around April Fools Day, and Gov. Dirk Kempthorne lauded Jones’ service to his fellow veterans. Jones is a much-decorated Vietnam veteran, who also served two four-year terms as Idaho attorney general and worked many years as an attorney in Jerome and Boise.

Jones told a packed court chamber that he looks forward to working on the high court. “Despite what you hear, the people here do get along, they enjoy working together and they are dedicated to justice,” he said.

Said the new justice, “I see the law being the glue that holds our society together, and I’m going to work as hard as I can to keep that glue there.”


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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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