A Boise trial attorney who says he’s wanted the job “for a long, long time” was appointed Tuesday to the Idaho Supreme Court.
Warren Jones will replace retiring Chief Justice Gerald Schroeder, Gov. Butch Otter announced Tuesday in Coeur d’Alene.
“Warren brings 37 years of judicial education from the courtroom, through the investigatory areas and into representation in court,” Otter said.
Rep. Jim Clark, R-Hayden, said Tuesday’s event was historic. “I can’t think of the last time something like this was done in North Idaho,” Clark said.
Otter said he chose to announce his pick in North Idaho because “the Supreme Court is the court of the entire state.”
Jones said he decided at age 12 that he wanted to be a lawyer.
“The law has been my life for the past 40 years,” said Jones, who will join the four remaining members of the state’s high court next week and serve the remainder of Schroeder’s term, which expires Jan. 7, 2009.
Otter said Schroeder felt it was important for whoever replaced him to have the opportunity to “demonstrate their talent and abilities” before going through an election.
“I have every confidence that if the electorate studies Warren Jones as I have, they will see it’s a wise choice the Judicial Council made,” Otter said.
Jones, 63, was one of four applicants – out of a field of 19 – the Idaho Judicial Council recommended to the governor.
Otter said he interviewed all four finalists and reviewed extensive files prepared by the council.
Mike Gilmore and Clive Strong, both of the Idaho attorney general’s office, and District Judge Joel Horton of Ada County were the other nominees.
Otter said all were “great candidates.”
The Supreme Court should include a trial lawyer, Jones said. He said many members of the bar urged him to apply.
A graduate of Albertson College and the University of Chicago law school, Jones has been with the law firm of Eberle Berlin, Kading, Turnbow, McKlveen and Jones since 1970.
Jones is the firm’s senior litigator, specializing in litigation of all types, including insurance defense litigation involving negligence, premises liability, products liability, legal malpractice, construction accidents and defects and automobile accidents.
He also has also been engaged in significant commercial litigation, according to his firm’s Web site.
His wife, Karen, joined him for Tuesday’s announcement in Courtroom 1 of the Kootenai County Courthouse. Several legislators also attended the brief press conference, including the chairs of the Senate and House judicial committees.
Sen. Denton Darrington, R-Declo, said Jones doesn’t bring any political agendas to the bench.
“He knows the role of the court is to interpret the Constitution and not make law,” Darrington said.
“Lawyer friends of mine in Boise tell me Warren Jones is a lawyer’s lawyer, and that’s a fine compliment.”