Utah governor's office
Third District Court Judge Paige Petersen became the newest member of the Utah Supreme Court Wednesday with her unanimous confirmation by the state Senate.

SALT LAKE CITY — Third District Court Judge Paige Petersen became the newest member of the Utah Supreme Court Wednesday with her unanimous confirmation by the state Senate.

"It's a bit of a scary process," a smiling Petersen told the Senate in a speech following the vote, as a large group of family members, including her 96-year-old grandmother and seven nieces and nephews, looked on.

"I am just so humbled today," she said, to join the high court. "That's not even the end of it. I am going to be taking the seat that's vacated by Christine Durham. I want you to know I understand the magnitude of that. That is not lost on me."

Durham, the first woman to serve on the Utah Supreme Court, retired this week. She was appointed in 1982 and spent a decade of her 35 years on the high court as chief justice.

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Petersen, who was raised in Emery County and has a background that includes a law degree from Yale and stints prosecuting organized crime in Brooklyn, New York, and Serbian war crimes at the International Court at The Hague, praised Utah's judiciary.

"They are smart. They are committed to fairness. They understand the rule of law," she said. "I am so proud to be part of the Utah judiciary because of the quality of the judiciary."

The Senate also approved three other judicial nominees from Gov. Gary Herbert on Wednesday: Linda Jones, Patrick Corum and Amber Mettler. All will serve as 3rd District Court judges.