How to help: Northern California wildfire relief

Here’s who could be the next member of the Utah Supreme Court

SALT LAKE CITY — Nominees have been announced for an opening on the state’s top court.

Utah’s Appellate Judicial Nominating Commission released a list of names for the upcoming vacancy on the Utah Supreme Court with the retirement of Justice Christine Durham in November.

The Utah Supreme Court hears arguments in an environmental lawsuit over the Tesoro refinery expansion on Wednesday, December 2, 2015. (FOX 13 file image)

The nominees for the vacancy are:

  • Assistant Solicitor General Christopher Ballard in the Utah Attorney General’s Office
  • Judge Michele Christiansen of the Utah Court of Appeals
  • Judge Paige Petersen in the Third District Court
  • Salt Lake City Attorney Margaret Plane
  • Judge Jill Pohlman of the Utah Court of Appeals
  • Judge Derek Pullan of the Fourth District Court
  • Attorney Terry Welch of the firm Parr Brown Gee & Loveless.

The Judicial Nominating Commission will take public comment on the nominees until Oct. 2. Governor Gary Herbert will appoint Justice Durham’s replacement, who will have to be confirmed by the Utah State Senate.

In an interview with FOX 13 last week, Justice Durham said she wanted her replacement to be a woman. Justice Durham was the first woman district trial court judge and the first woman to serve on the Utah Supreme Court.

“Frankly, in this era, to have the highest court in Utah have no gender diversity would be a sad thing,” she told FOX 13.

Utah Supreme Court Justice Christine Durham in an interview with FOX 13’s Ben Winslow. (Image by Eric Weseman, FOX 13 News)

Governor Herbert has said he would appoint the “best person possible” regardless of gender or ethnicity.