Tom Smart, Deseret News
Utah Supreme Court Justice Christine Durham gives the State of the Judiciary address in the Senate chambers, Monday, Jan. 24, 2011, in Salt Lake City. She has been selected to receive the Dwight D. Opperman Award for Judicial Excellence.

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Supreme Court Justice Christine Durham has been chosen to receive a national award honoring judicial excellence.

Durham, who has been on the state's high court since 1982, was selected by the American Judicature Society to receive the Eighth Annual Dwight D. Opperman Award for Judicial Excellence.

"Justice Durham is the personification of judicial excellence," Delaware Supreme Court Justice Randy Holland said in a prepared statement.

Holland served as chairman on the award selection panel and received the ward last year. Durham was nominated by Ruth V. McGregor, former Arizona Supreme Court chief justice, who had high praise for Durham.

"(Durham) has served the public for almost 30 years," McGregor said. "During that time, she has demonstrated her commitment to the rule of law, to the administration of justice and to judicial and legal education."

She added that Durham "has served as a role model to hundreds, perhaps thousands, of young women and men who see in her the characteristics they hope someday to possess."

Durham served as chief justice of the Utah Supreme Court and chairwoman of the Utah Judicial Council from 2002 to 2012.