Milan Smith

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Milan Smith
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
Assumed office
May 18, 2006
Appointed by George W. Bush
Preceded by Wallace Tashima
Personal details
Born (1942-05-19) May 19, 1942 (age 71)
Pendleton, Oregon, U.S.
Alma mater Brigham Young University, Utah
University of Chicago
Religion Mormon

Milan Dale Smith, Jr. (born May 19, 1942) is a federal judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, based in El Segundo, California.[1]

Smith's brother, Gordon Smith, was a Republican U.S. Senator from Oregon from 1996-2009.


Smith was born in Pendleton, Oregon. He was the son of Milan D. Smith, Sr., who would serve on the staff of Secretary of Agriculture, Ezra Taft Benson. He received a B.A. from Brigham Young University in 1966.

Smith earned a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School in 1969. Before becoming a judge, he was the managing partner at the law firm of Smith, Crane, Robinson, and Parker, which he co-founded in 1972. He was a President-General cousel of the Los Angeles State Building Authority from 1983 to 2006. Smith was a Vice Chairman of the California Fair Employment and Housing Commission from 1987 to 1991.

Ninth Circuit nomination and confirmation[edit]

Smith was nominated by President George W. Bush on February 14, 2006 to fill a seat vacated by Judge A. Wallace Tashima.[2] He was confirmed just over three months later by the United States Senate on May 16, 2006 by a vote of 93-0.[3] He is the fifth judge appointed to the Ninth Circuit by Bush, and the first since Carlos Bea was confirmed in 2003.


Smith's first published opinion was released on December 14, 2006. In that case, United States v. Juvenile Male,[4] Smith wrote for a unanimous three-judge panel that reversed the district court for improperly sentencing a juvenile under an adult sentencing scheme.

In July 2007 in Lands Council v. McNair, Smith wrote a concurrence described as "unusually blunt and wide-ranging", in which he blamed his own court for "taking the law too far and causing much of 'the decimation of the logging industry in the Pacific Northwest' and the loss of legions of timber jobs."[5] Judge Smith's view ultimately prevailed in July 2008 when the case was reviewed en banc and he wrote the opinion for the unanimous eleven-judge panel which vacated the panel decision.

In September 2008 Smith was the one dissenter on a three judge panel that held that a school ban of an instrumental version of "Ave Maria" did not violate students' freedom of speech and religion.[6]

Regarding the Stolen Valor Act of 2005, signed into law by President George W. Bush on December 20, 2006, USA v. Xavier Alvarez, case No. 08-50345 in the 9th U.S. Court of Appeals. This case was decided on August 17, 2010 when the panel also ruled the Stolen Valor Act unconstitutional. The federal appeals court panel in California says people have a right to lie about receiving military medals. Specifically, in the 2 - 1 decision, the majority said there's no evidence that such lies harm anybody, and there's no compelling reason for the government to ban such lies. "The right to speak and write whatever one chooses - including, to some degree, worthless, offensive and demonstrable untruths - without cowering in fear of a powerful government is, in our view, an essential component of the protection afforded by the First Amendment," Judge Milan Smith said in the majority opinion. If lying about a medal can be classified as a crime, Smith said, so can lying about one's age, misrepresenting one's financial status on Facebook, or telling one's mother falsehoods about drinking, smoking or sex. (

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Wallace Tashima
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit