President Barack Obama tapped a former Utah U.S. Attorney for a seat on the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the White House announced Wednesday.
Scott Matheson Jr., who served as U.S. Attorney from 1993 to 1997, would succeed Michael McConnell, who resigned last year. The ex-prosecutor is currently a professor at the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law, where he was once the dean. He was also a candidate in the state’s 2004 gubernatorial election. Read more about him here.
“Scott Matheson is a distinguished candidate for the Tenth Circuit court,” Obama said in a statement. “Both his legal and academic credentials are impressive and his commitment to judicial integrity is unwavering. I am honored to nominate this lifelong Utahn to the federal bench.”
The former U.S. Attorney is the brother of Rep. Jim Matheson (D-Utah), who opposes Obama’s health care legislation. The Weekly Standard pondered whether Matheson’s nomination was made to “buy off his brother’s vote.”
Rep. Matheson’s spokeswoman, Alyson Heyrend, told Politico that the possibility was “patently ridiculous.” A White House official also told the newspaper the Weekly Standard’s hypothesis was “absurd.”
Both of Utah’s Republican senators, Orrin Hatch and Robert Bennett, support his nomination, according to Politico.