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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

Idaho senators’ secret selection process for new federal judge raises questions, no women interviewed

Idaho is the only state in the 9th Circuit that’s never had a woman U.S. district judge, and members of Idaho’s legal community say a secretive selection process that Idaho Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch have launched to find a replacement for U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge appears to be ignoring female candidates. “We are extremely concerned,” said Peg Dougherty, co-chair of the Judicial Recruitment Committee for Idaho Women Lawyers. Multiple sources say the two senators have interviewed just four candidates – all males. Lodge announced last September that he will take senior status on July 3.

“Are the senators even aware that Idaho is the only state without a woman on the federal court bench at the district level?” Dougherty asked. “If they are aware, do they care?” Neither Crapo nor Risch would comment. “The judgeship application process is entirely confidential and remains ongoing,” said Risch’s press secretary, Suzanne Wrasse. “The senators are working through their confidential process,” said Crapo’s press secretary, Lindsay Nothern. “That’s all I have.”

At least five prominent female Idaho attorneys, including at least one sitting judge and two high-ranking prosecutors, have applied for the position, but not been interviewed, or even heard back from the senators for months. You can read my full story here at

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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