U.S. District Court Judge Robert J. Shelby a seasoned attorney, war veteran

Published: Monday, Dec. 23 2013 6:35 p.m. MST

U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby (Deseret News Archives) U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby (Deseret News Archives)

A snapshot of U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby

Shelby, 43, was born in Fort Atkinson, Wis., population 12,368, according to the 2010 Census.

Shelby was nominated to the federal bench by President Barack Obama in November 2011.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, in introducing Shelby to the Senate Judiciary Committee said: “Whenever we have a judicial vacancy in Utah, no matter who occupies the White House, I look for a candidate to recommend who is widely respected in the legal community and who can be widely supported in the Senate. Bob Shelby certainly meets that test.”

Shelby's written response to a question by Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee:

Question: "In your opinion, what is the role of the judge in protecting the interests of the 'little guy?'''

Response: "I do not believe it is the proper role of a judge to seek to protect interests of any parties, irrespective of whether those parties might be described as 'big guys' or 'little guys.' To the contrary, I believe it is the judge’s responsibility to reach decisions based exclusively on the application of established precedent to the specific facts presented.''

During the confirmation process, Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, described Shelby as "pre-eminently qualified" and predicted he would be "an outstanding judge."

Shelby was confirmed by the Senate on Sept. 22, 2012.

Shelby is a graduate of Utah State University and earned a law degree from the University of Virginia in 1998.

He is married to his college sweetheart, Angela. The couple have two children.

Prior to his appointment to the federal bench, Shelby was a shareholder in the Salt Lake law firm Snow Christensen & Martineau. Previously, he was a partner with the law firm Burbidge, Mitchell & Gross. Earlier, Shelby was an associate with Snow Christensen & Martineau.

From 1999–2000, Shelby was a law clerk for U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Greene.

Shelby served on the Utah Supreme Court's Ethics and Discipline Committee for more than five years as well as a member of the Utah Supreme Court's Advisory Committee for Rules of Civil Procedure.

Shelby was twice elected student body vice president at USU. One of his terms was interrupted when his National Guard unit was activated for Desert Storm in 1991.

Shelby served in the Utah Army National Guard from 19th Special Forces Group in the 1457th Combat Engineer Battalion from 1988-1996. He was awarded the U.S. Army Achievement Medal for his service in Desert Storm.

Before becoming a lawyer, Shelby worked as a reservation sales agent for a major national hotel chain, was the office manager of two automobile rental offices and was a night manager of a grocery store in Logan.

Shelby has tried approximately 35 cases to verdict in both state and federal court, and, in 2011, he managed the defense of a major national class action case.

Shelby was a member of the defense team in the Olympic bribery case.

Email: marjorie@deseretnews.com

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