N. Randy Smith

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Randy Smith
N. Randy Smith Circuit Judge.jpg
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
Assumed office
March 19, 2007
Appointed by George W. Bush
Preceded by Thomas Nelson
Personal details
Born (1949-08-11) August 11, 1949 (age 66)
Logan, Utah, U.S.
Alma mater Brigham Young University, Utah

Norman Randy Smith (born August 11, 1949) is a federal judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. He currently lives and maintains chambers in Pocatello, Idaho.


A native of Southeastern Idaho, Smith attended Brigham Young University,[1] where he received his B.S. degree in 1974 and his J.D. in 1977. Following law school, he returned to Idaho and practiced from 1977 to 1981 as Associate and Assistant General Counsel for the J.R. Simplot Company, one of the largest privately owned companies in the world. He concurrently taught business and accounting courses at Boise State University from 1979 to 1981. In 1982, Smith joined the law firm Merrill & Merrill, where he remained for thirteen years, first as an associate, and later as a partner beginning in 1984. That same year he began a long second career as an adjunct professor at Idaho State University where he continues teaching accounting, business law, and political science courses in the Economics and Political Science Departments. In the early 1990s, Smith served as Chairman of the Idaho Republican Party and helped manage the campaign of former Idaho governor Phil Batt. Smith left private practice in 1995 to become a trial judge for the Sixth Judicial District of Idaho, a position he held until his confirmation to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Ninth Circuit nominations and confirmation[edit]

Smith was nominated by President George W. Bush to two different vacancies on the Ninth Circuit before eventually being confirmed. The first nomination, on December 16, 2005, was to fill the vacancy left by Judge Stephen S. Trott. However, after opposition from California's U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, who argued that Smith, an Idahoan, had been nominated to a "California seat", his nomination stalled in the 109th Congress.

Following the Democratic Party takeover of the U.S. Senate in the aftermath of the November 2006 elections, and the withdrawal of fellow Ninth Circuit nominee William Gerry Myers III, Bush resubmitted Smith's name to the 110th Congress on January 16, 2007. The new nomination was to the seat left open by Idaho judge Thomas G. Nelson, resulting in Smith's confirmation on February 15, 2007, by a vote of 94-0,[2] over a year after his original nomination.

Smith is the seventh and final judge appointed by Bush to the Ninth Circuit, and the first Article III judge confirmed by the Senate of the 110th Congress.


His first published opinion for the Ninth Circuit was United States v. Zalapa, which dealt with multiplicity of criminal convictions.

In February 2012, Smith authored a dissent to the Ninth Circuit's decision in Perry v. Brown holding California Proposition 8 unconstitutional. He did agree with the majority that the appellants had standing to bring the appeal, and that Judge Vaughn Walker's decision should not be vacated on allegations of bias.[3]


  1. ^ Jamshid Askar, "Prop 8 Judge N. Randy Smith" in Deseret News, Dec. 6, 2010
  2. ^ Senate vote roll call
  3. ^ Dolan, Maura (February 7, 2012). "Proposition 8: Gay Marriage ban unconstitutional". Los Angeles Times. 

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Thomas Nelson
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit