, Senator Mike Lee
David Barlow was nominated Tuesday as U.S. attorney for the state of Utah.

SALT LAKE CITY — President Barack Obama nominated David Barlow on Tuesday to be U.S. attorney for the state of Utah.

If confirmed, Barlow will replace interim U.S. Attorney Carlie Christensen, who has held the position since 2009 when Brett Tolman stepped down, making more than 18 months that Utah has been without a permanent appointment to the position of U.S. attorney.

Sens. Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee both issued congratulatory statements, expressing their confidence in Barlow's ability.

"David Barlow is a brilliant attorney with solid Utah values and sound judgment," Hatch said. "I am confident he will be a thoughtful and fair U.S. attorney who will serve the people of Utah well."

Barlow currently serves as chief counsel on the Senate Judiciary Committee for Senator Mike Lee. Prior to that position, Barlow worked as a partner with Chicago law firm Sidley Austin.

"David is a first-rate lawyer who will serve the people of Utah with distinction," Lee said. "His willingness to leave his firm's partnership, serve in the Senate, and continue to serve Utah, speaks volumes about his character."

Many Democrats in the state have previously stated that Obama's appointment of a Republican was a missed opportunity.

"It's frustrating and it very well may have an impact at election time," Jeff Eisenberg, a member of the Utah Democratic Lawyer's Council, told the Deseret News in July.

While Utah Republicans are likely pleased with the party of Obama's nomination, it is likely that some feel relief that a nomination has finally appeared. In October 2010, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, wrote a letter to the president, urging him to make a nomination for the position. He wrote a second similar letter in May.

"Utahns have been patient in this matter, as have I," Chaffetz wrote in May, asking the president to submit a name by June 30. "This has simply gone on too long."

In the time since Tolman stepped down, Hatch, Lee and Rep. Jim Matheson, the lone Democrat in Utah's congressional delegation, reportedly submitted names to the White House.

"There has been ample opportunity for the selection to move forward. I hope the administration will take seriously the need to fill this position in a timely way" Matheson told the Deseret News in May.

Barlow's accomplishments include graduating first in his class from BYU, after which he attended Yale Law School as a Harry S. Truman Scholar. Barlow is also a prior recipient of the Pro Bono Advocates' Lawyer of the Year Award.

"I am grateful for the confidence of President Obama in nominating me to be United States Attorney, and for the support of Senators Hatch and Lee," Barlow said.

E-mail: benwood@desnews.com