Hearing held for Idaho nominee to 9th Circuit Court

A U.S. Senate committee Wednesday considered the nomination of an Idaho attorney for a spot on the bench of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Ryan Nelson has been the General Counsel of Idaho Falls-based Melaleuca since 2009.

Idaho Senator Mike Crapo chaired Nelson’s confirmation hearing with the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Nelson was grilled by committee Democrats about his views on climate change and LGBT rights, and his legal work for Melaleuca, but got high praise from Republicans on the panel for the breadth of his legal experience, which includes work as an assistant attorney general for the environment and natural resources division of the U.S. Department of Justice, a position in which he oversaw 500 appellate cases and personally argued 13 appeals in nine different circuits.

In January, President Trump nominated Nelson to be solicitor at the Department of Interior. The nomination was approved by the Senate Energy Committee, but was withdrawn in May in light of his nomination to the 9th Circuit.

If confirmed, Nelson would replace Judge Randy Smith of Pocatello, who plans to take senior status next month. Smith, a former Idaho district judge, was appointed to the court in 2007.

Of note, Idaho has never having a woman appointed to a lifetime position on the federal bench. (Idaho Press-Tribune)

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