N. Randy Smith

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N. Randy Smith
N. Randy Smith Circuit Judge.jpg
Senior Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
Assumed office
August 11, 2018
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
In office
March 19, 2007 – August 11, 2018
Appointed byGeorge W. Bush
Preceded byThomas G. Nelson
Succeeded byRyan D. Nelson
Chairman of the Idaho Republican Party
In office
Preceded byPhil Batt
Succeeded byRon McMurray
Personal details
Norman Randy Smith

(1949-08-11) August 11, 1949 (age 70)
Logan, Utah
Political partyRepublican
EducationBrigham Young University (B.S.)
J. Reuben Clark Law School (J.D.)

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


A native of southeastern Idaho, Smith attended Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah,[1] where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in 1974. He received his Juris Doctor from J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University 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. Smith 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. Smith served as Chairman of the Idaho Republican Party (Defeated then former State Senator Bill Ringert) (1993-1994)[2] and helped manage the campaign of Idaho governor Phil Batt in 1994. Smith left private practice in 1995 following an appointment by Batt to become a state judge for the sixth district in Pocatello, 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.[3][4]

Following the Democratic Party takeover of the United States Senate in the aftermath of the November 2006 elections, and the withdrawal of fellow Ninth Circuit nominee William Gerry Myers III,[4] 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, then on senior status, resulting in Smith's confirmation on February 15, 2007, by a vote of 94–0,[5] over a year after his original nomination. He assumed senior status on August 11, 2018.

Smith was 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.[6]

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.[7]


  1. ^ Jamshid Askar, "Prop 8 Judge N. Randy Smith" in Deseret News, Dec. 6, 2010
  2. ^ "Lewiston Morning Tribune - Google News Archive Search". news.google.com. Retrieved 2017-04-21.
  3. ^ "Nominee to 9th Circuit creates turf battle between states". Lodi News-Sentinel. Associated Press. February 18, 2006. p. 5.
  4. ^ a b Wittmeyer, Alicia P.Q. (December 13, 2006). "Road to 9th Circuit for Idaho lawyer may be close to an end". Moscow-Pullman Daily News. Idaho-Washington. Associated Press. p. 6A.
  5. ^ "U.S. Senate: U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 110th Congress - 1st Session".
  6. ^ "FindLaw's United States Ninth Circuit case and opinions". Findlaw. Retrieved 2017-04-21.
  7. ^ Dolan, Maura (February 7, 2012). "Proposition 8: Gay Marriage ban unconstitutional". Los Angeles Times.

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by
Phil Batt
Chairman of the Idaho Republican Party
Succeeded by
Ron McMurray
Legal offices
Preceded by
Thomas G. Nelson
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
Succeeded by
Ryan D. Nelson