BOISE – Idaho’s U.S. senators are asking people interested in replacing longtime U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge to fill out a questionnaire.
President Barack Obama will name the next judge, and there’s no guarantee he’ll pick the Idaho GOP senators’ nominee, but the Senate does confirm the choice and generally defers to the state’s Senate delegation on the pick. Sen. Mike Crapo’s office says the ideal nominee would be someone “amenable to both parties.” It’s a lifetime appointment.
Lodge, Idaho’s longest-serving judge, will take senior status on July 3; between his state and federal service, he’s been on the bench more than 50 years. Idaho hasn’t had a new federal district judge appointed since 1995, when current Chief U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill was named to the court. Typically, the highest-ranking member of Idaho’s congressional delegation who is of the same party as the president would play a key role in the nomination, but Idaho doesn’t have any Democrats in its delegation. Crapo and Sen. Jim Risch both are Republicans.
“They’re not obligated to take whoever we pick. We’re just going to assist in the process and get some names forward,” said Lindsay Nothern, spokesman for Crapo. “Basically, it’s a Senate confirmation process, the White House knows that, and they generally will work with us.”
The two Idaho senators have informed the White House that they’re starting the process, Nothern said.
Among the questions: education, employment record, honors or awards, bar and court admission, potential conflicts of interest, political activities and affiliations, and pro bono work, which refers to legal work done without charge to serve the disadvantaged.
“I don’t know that we have specific credentials in mind,” Nothern said. “It’s just really a process to get names, to get folks into a queue so they can be evaluated.”
Federal district judges currently make $199,100 a year; they received their first raise this year since 2009, when the salary increased to $174,000.
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