BYU law professor Thomas Lee nominated to Utah Supreme Court

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  • chuck84
    May 30, 2010 8:03 p.m.

    Thom Lee was my professor last year. He is brilliant and intimidating. He will be a great addition to the Supreme Court.

  • courthousesnitch
    May 29, 2010 6:51 p.m.

    I wonder if he has the same problem managing his money as his little brother does?

  • Ace
    May 29, 2010 2:52 p.m.

    wandrew: Please enlighten us on how the court's decisions reflect LDS bias. Cite one decision in the past ten years that I can look up and see the pro-mormon slant at work. Please, your fellow members of the bar are eager to read this LDS effect on the jurisprudence of the court.

  • HsquaredRsquared
    May 29, 2010 2:43 p.m.

    Selecting and appointing a State Supreme Court judge should depend on the same criteria for a Supreme Court judge: the Constitution and the seperation of powers. Just as judges interpret what the law IS, and not what it should be, so should the selection and appointment not depend on family name or endorsement. Such is the case with Mr. Lee. He's completely qualified, and those who claim that the selection was otherwise haven’t looked at his judicial philosophy. The decision was determined on merit, alone.

  • JMT
    May 29, 2010 11:57 a.m.

    I know all three in the casual setting of Utah politics. Of the three I rate Tom Lee the highest, Tim Bridgewater next, Mike Lee last.

    I am very happy that Tom has been nominated to the Supreme Court. Utah will be the beneficiary for years to come. I am voting for Tim Bridgewater for Senate and wish Mike Lee the best at his next endeavor. He is a great legal mind but not ready for the US Senate.

    Tom is a class act.

  • Crafty
    May 29, 2010 10:21 a.m.

    I attended a memorial service for Rex Lee at the U.S. Department of Justice shortly after his death. Tom Lee spoke, as did two Supreme Court Justices and the Managing Partner of the senior Lee's national law firm, Sidley and Austin. The two justices and the managing partner read very appropriate and well-prepared speeches.

    Tom Lee spoke without notes. His presentation was so articulate and well done that the final speaker, a senior official at the Department of Justice, said, "Wow, how can I possibly follow that?"

    If Tom Lee had circulated his resume after that meeting, he would have received dozens of job offers at the most prestigious law firms in the country and could have had several government appoints.

    And that was many years ago. If he's as impressive now as he was then, Utah is very lucky to have his services.

  • micawber
    May 29, 2010 9:50 a.m.


    Care to give specific examples of how the religion of the members of the Utah Supreme Court has affected their jurisprudence? As a lawyer, I read a lot of opinions, and I really don't recall any effect.

  • fender
    May 29, 2010 9:41 a.m.

    Mr. Lee's educational and professional background is just a part of the issue. Most judicial nominees attempt to disarm opposition with statements about the judicial branch being passive and setting no policies. Anyone with an IQ higher than a houseplant knows that's only true to a point. I knew his dad, Rex Lee, reasonably well and debated constitutional issues with him on several occasions. He was one of the most likeable people I've known. Still, if given a vote, I would not have put him on the US Supreme Court, because from my perspective he would have restricted individual rights (given the opportunity)in ways that make me uncomfortable.

    The Utah Supreme Court doesn't get the opportunities for social engineering that the US Supreme Court does, but it does get some, so it's a bit naive to suppose that Mr. Lee's political/philosophical leanings won't have a bearing on his performance as a justice.

  • econ
    May 29, 2010 8:04 a.m.

    Unlike the Larry above, there are those of us who know Tom Lee well, and find him exceptionally prepared for the task ahead. He is intellectually in the top of his profession, and equally important he is an honest, genuine and caring person. Should one be excluded because others in his family have also been successful? Tom Lee stands on his own, we are fortunate to have someone of his character and experience. Thank you, Tom, for being willing to make the sacrifice that will be required of you should you accept this new direction in your career.

  • funny_guy
    May 29, 2010 7:50 a.m.

    Mitch Skousen shame on you!! Can't you simply congrat a deserving choice for the bench without crying conspiracy? Look out Mitch, they're coming to get you.

  • wandrew
    May 28, 2010 8:00 p.m.

    Four out of five members of the Utah Supreme Court are LDS, and accornding to the comment above, "it doesn't seem to affect their jurisprudence on either the Utah Supreme Court. . . " I suspect that person has not read many decisions of this Court. It affects their judgments very much. And another BYU professor, well as someone who practices before this Court, I feel a headache coming on.

  • Larry
    May 28, 2010 7:20 p.m.

    I would prefer to see a plumber more than a Person of Law.
    Common sense.

  • L
    May 28, 2010 7:12 p.m.

    @ defibman | 6:22p.m.May28,2010...
    @peabody. If you live in Colorado, why are you even commenting on this? I bet if we were to go to the Denver Post and look for your comments, there would not be anything there. Keep your ignorant comments to yourself and your liberal state.

    I disagree with you! The DeseretNews is read by people all over the country as well as other papers like the WashingtonPost.

    I for one (who has lived in several other States) welcome their experience and observations. Sometimes they make a lot more sense than those from some who live in Utah.

    When we signed up with DeseretNews, I didn't see anything that said Utah residents only or only Utah residents can comment.

    I think it is silly statements like yours that cause other to question or dislike people from Utah! We need all the "friends" we can get.

    I presume you would also support NO-COMMENTS about the Arizonia-immighation law by anyone in Utah even though we might be considering something ourselves.

    I hope your next post invites others to post and share their views. Besides some in Colorado-own property in Utah & pay taxes!

  • MenaceToSociety
    May 28, 2010 7:07 p.m.

    Haha. The Republicans will support Lee even though he has no experience as a judge, while opposing Kagan because she has no experience as a judge. Hypocrites.

  • defibman
    May 28, 2010 6:22 p.m.

    To We the people: "Than being said, I agree with you; we have little idea about how Lee will judge. I am so tired of dynastic family legacies. They make me sick." Uhhhh, stop and think a bit about that statement. WE DON"T KNOW how Lee will judge....but you are tired of dynastic family legacies? Isn't that judging how he will perform before he even makes one ruling?

    @ peabody. If you live in Colorado, why are you even commenting on this? I bet if we were to go to the Denver Post and look for your comments, there would not be anything there. Keep your ignorant comments to yourself and your liberal state.

  • micawber
    May 28, 2010 6:16 p.m.

    @John Charity Spring: One of Governor Herbert's appointments was J. Fred Voros to the Court of Appeals. Judge Voros spent about twenty years in the criminal appeals section of the Attorney General's Office.

    @Peabody. Justice Nehring is a Lutheran. I believe the other four members of the Utah Supreme Court are LDS. I believe six members of the U.S. Supreme Court are Catholic, and it doesn't seem to affect their jurisprudence on either the Utah Supreme Court or the U.S. Supreme Court.

  • CandaceSalima
    May 28, 2010 6:07 p.m.

    How proud Rex Lee must be that his sons have taken the opportunities he gave them and have worked hard to reach this level of success in their lives. Mike is a man of honor, integrity, strength and courage to take on Washington, D.C. with the U.S. Constitution in hand. Thomas, clearly, is willing to enforce the law without creating it. God bless these two men for living up to the legacy of their father.

  • Bob Pomeroy
    May 28, 2010 5:10 p.m.

    Rex' kids have indeed achieved in the opportunities presented to them. But one need not look far to understand that they were presented many of those opportunities in large part because of connections. At some level, the candidates presented for selection are all extremely qualified and even a flip of a coin would result in an xlnt choice. The point is that they qualified for selection. Notwithstanding that Rex (and his father before him) hardwired their kids to be Constitutional lawyers, each had to burn their own midnight oil. My problem is that I cannot draw any thing resembling a straight line between Rex admonishing that Constitutional Law ultimately rests on principled decisions, the Citizen's United case, and the underlying bases of the tea party. I guess I trust the Lees, even though I fundamentally disagree with their purported politics. I was certainly never the beneficiary of any opportunity arising from Rex, but it doesn't require much looking around to see that many, many doors were opened by Rex for those felt he had qualified for the same.

  • Digbads
    May 28, 2010 5:05 p.m.

    Rex Lee was an impressive man. Tom's Lee's mother is the matron at the Jordan River Temple and has really impressed me. It would make sense to me that their children would be "on the ball" and be intelligent.

    The fruit doesn't fall far from the tree. There is more logic than politics in this appointment.

  • dnpearce
    May 28, 2010 4:20 p.m.

    Otab: "I hope all of the conservatives that think Kagan is not qualified for the Supreme Court because she hasn't been a judge listen to the arguements here." You are exactly right. I suspect that many of those who oppose Kagan for that reason will ignore their own arguments as they throw their support behind Lee.

  • katamb-midvale
    May 28, 2010 4:13 p.m.

    Congratulations Professor Lee! I just listened to a talk by your father last week when he was at BYU about the Constitution and the Restoration - wonderful! For those of us left behind he definitely was taken too soon.

  • Tyson
    May 28, 2010 2:34 p.m.

    How many times must we refer to Professor TOM LEE as Mike Lee? Whether you agree with his appointment or not, maybe you could get his name right. Just saying. In my opinion, his credentials are fantastic and he will make a great Justice.

    FYI, I also think Scott Matheson is great nomination for the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. Do all of you think that the Mathesons should be struck down for their family political connections too?

  • Flashback
    May 28, 2010 1:49 p.m.

    I'd rather have an upright, moral, honest teacher as a supreme court justice than that bunch of hypocritical miscreant socialists that we have running the country from the White House.

    I see no family dynasty in the Lee's. I see a father who was once Solicitor General (his only political appointment), a founding dean of the BYU Law school, Law Professor, President of BYU, and the smartest man I have ever met in person. Yep, that's a real dynasty right there. Right up there with the Kennedy family, or the Adams family, how about the Roosevelt family. Maybe the Bush family.

  • Cats
    May 28, 2010 1:00 p.m.

    Dear Peabody: The "Church" does NOT control our legislature. The people do. The people in this state happen to be majority LDS. But, others are represented.

    In Massachussetts, a lot of people are Catholic. Therefore, Catholic views have a great sway on their government. In the so-called bible belt, evangelical philosophy has a lot of influence in their state governments. That's as it should be.

    The views of the people are what SHOULD influence the government of any state or nation. If those views are informed by their faith, so be it.

  • kdid
    May 28, 2010 12:37 p.m.

    I agree with Cats comments. Rather than casting stones on those in the public eye I wish people would stop and do the research before they judge an individual because of a name. If they had done some reading they would find the Lee family specifically, Rex, Tom and Mike are all extremely intelligent, hard-working, moral people. They have based their lives in service their families and their fellow man, always trying to do the morally right thing and uphold the foundations of this country. They are educators and leaders in a time when so many in the public eye are hypocrites and morally questionable if not completely corrupt. You may disagree with their stance on a given issue and that’s your right as free American but you have to respect their intelligence, achievement and moral compass.

    I applaud Tom Lee for his continued service as an educator and to this country in upholding the truth and backbone of America, our constitution and its laws as a free democratic nation. Tom Lee is an intelligent and fair man and will be a great asset to all the people in Utah.

  • JHP
    May 28, 2010 12:19 p.m.

    Prof. Lee clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas and graduated with "high honors" from the University of Chicago law school. Sounds pretty qualified, at least on paper.

    I think he looks more senatorial than his brother, not that that matters.

  • peabody
    May 28, 2010 11:46 a.m.

    I live in Colorado and I am not LDS. What is the religious makeup of the Utah Supreme Court? I would think that Mike Lee is LDS since he teaches at BYU. Will the Church control the Court as it does your Legislature and your Executive branch ?
    Just wondering...

  • John Charity Spring
    May 28, 2010 11:45 a.m.

    The prior comments ignore the true issue. The real issue is the current governor's refusal to put anyone with criminal law experience on the bench.

    The most importan cases that the Supreme Court will hear are criminal cases. And yet, the governor continues to ignore this fact. Instead, he continues to appoint one jurist after another who has no background in criminal law and no sense of how important these cases are.

  • We the People
    May 28, 2010 11:37 a.m.

    The difference between the US Supreme Court and the Utah Supreme Court is big. I mean really big.

    Than being said, I agree with you; we have little idea about how Lee will judge. I am so tired of dynastic family legacies. They make me sick.

  • Mitch Skousen
    May 28, 2010 11:25 a.m.

    I am less and less impressed with Mike Lee, his family and Gov. Herbert. You know this is political, Herbert is softly endorsing Mike Lee with this pick.

  • jotab
    May 28, 2010 11:21 a.m.

    I hope all of the conservatives that think Kagan is not qualified for the Supreme Court because she hasn't been a judge listen to the arguements here.

  • The Big One
    May 28, 2010 11:13 a.m.

    You forgot the Levitts, Daddy put Mike in office, the Bennetts and who could forget the ultimate daddys boy Huntsman. The UVU Pres is there because of Daddy.
    The list is long and will only get longer.

  • Cats
    May 28, 2010 11:08 a.m.

    You might not want to vote for Mike Lee, but I don't understand how you wouldn't be impressed with him or his family. His father was an outstanding attorney, BYU president and Solicitor General of the United States. Mike Lee was a Supreme Court Clerk. I, personally, met him just as he was about to enter law school and I was VERY impressed with him at that time.

    This is a family of over achievers who should receive respect for their accomplishments.

    As far as aristocracy goes, anyone can enter the political arena in this country. Of course, NO ONE should ever vote for someone because of who their father was. John F. Kennedy, Jr. comes to mind. I couldn't believe how many people wanted him to run for president even though he had no particular qualifications or experience. I don't think he even wanted to run.

    The Lees are an oustanding family and they should be given credit for it. However, they have each achieved on their own and not based on their family.

  • Mitch Skousen
    May 28, 2010 10:51 a.m.

    I am less and less impressed with Mike Lee, his family and Gov. Herbert. You know this is political, Herbert is softly endorsing Mike Lee with this pick.

  • Sarah Levin
    May 28, 2010 10:50 a.m.

    I love the aristocracy that exists in Utah's political/legal world. The Mathesons, The Lees. Alexis de Tocqueville in his famous book Democracy in America has a chapter (Ch 8 in Part II) explaining how lawyers and the legal system temper democracy in America. He pointed out that lawyers and judges function as aristocrats in America.