Senate confirms new judge for Utah

Published: Saturday, Sept. 27 2008 12:23 a.m. MDT

The U.S. Senate confirmed Clark Waddoups on Friday as Utah's newest federal judge.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said the confirmation of Waddoups, the senior partner of the law firm of Parr, Waddoups, Brown, Gee & Loveless, is "vitally important to our state" to fill a judgeship that has sat vacant for a year. He added, "He is an outstanding lawyer, and I know he will do a terrific job."

Sen. Bob Bennett, R-Utah, said Waddoups is "an outstanding appointment. He'll be a very effective federal judge." Bennett noted that he and Hatch both settled quickly on Waddoups as the one person they wanted appointed when they recommended him to President Bush.

Waddoups was among 10 judges that the Senate confirmed through a voice vote on Friday.

With those 10 confirmations, Democratic leaders gloated a bit that they have now confirmed more of Bush's judicial nominees (168) at times they held the majority during his presidency than have Republicans in the more than four years they held the majority.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said a bit caustically, "Despite lack of cooperation from Republican senators on important legislative matters, Democrats have worked hard to confirm President Bush's judicial nominations."

Waddoups had been endorsed by the Judiciary Committee on Thursday — but his nomination had been entangled there for a while. Democrats stalled a vote on him and other judges while Republicans stalled a vote on issuing subpoenas to the Justice Department relating to such things as its advice to the military on torture.

Waddoups, 62, was nominated by Bush in May to fill a vacancy created last year when former District Judge Paul Cassell decided to return to the University of Utah to teach.

Waddoups faced only a few easy, friendly questions at his confirmation hearing earlier this month. For example, when asked if he would treat all with respect and fairness in his court, he said, "That is a principle to which I am formally committed. And I assure you that is what I would attempt to do to the best of my ability."

Disclosure forms show he was paid $564,600 last year as one of Utah's premier lawyers. His pay will now be cut by two-thirds. The salary for federal judges is $169,200.

Waddoups graduated from law school at the University of Utah in 1973 and earned a bachelor's degree from Brigham Young University in 1970.

He now joins a long line of partners and associates from his law firm who have become judges.

Dale Kimball, a former partner with Parr Waddoups, and Dee Benson, a former associate, also serve as federal judges in Utah. Utah Supreme Court justices Matthew Durrant and Jill Parrish also were firm partners, as was Utah Court of Appeals Judge Carolyn McHugh.


E-mail: lee@desnews.com

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