Gov. Norm Bangerter's appointment of a Salt Lake attorney to fill a spot on northern Utah's 2nd Circuit Court bench is drawing criticism from Sen. Winn Richards, D-Ogden.

"It's an insult," Richards said of the selection of Pamela G. Heffernan to a judgeship vacancy in the court circuit encompassing Weber, Davis and Morgan counties.The Senate confirmed Heffernan late Wednesday, and while Richards voted with the 25-0 tally, he said the Republican governor erred in not appointing a jurist from the three-county area.

The action is an insult to the Weber and Davis bars, Richards told the Senate in a preconfirmation speech.

Richards, who said he has no problems with Heffernan's qualifications, nevertheless pointed out that not one attorney north of Salt Lake County was among Bangerter's recent seven appointments to the state Court of Appeals.

Heffernan, 36, was reared in Ogden and lives in Kaysville, but she practiced private law with the Salt Lake firm of Snow, Christensen & Martineau when she was appointed last month.

"There are more than 100 competent attorneys in Weber County," Richards argued.