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Randy Smith (Federal appeals judge)

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Randy Smith
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Current Court Information:
United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
Title:   Judge
Station:   Pocatello, ID
Appointed by:   George W. Bush
Active:   3/19/2007 - Present
Preceded by:   Thomas G. Nelson
Past post:   Idaho's Sixth Judicial District
Past term:   1995-2007
Personal History
Born:   1949
Hometown:   Logan, UT
Undergraduate:   Brigham Young University 1974
Law School:   J. Reuben Clark School of Law 1977

Norman Randy Smith is a federal appeals judge with the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco. He joined the court in 2007 after being nominated by President George W. Bush.

Early life and education

Born in Logan, Utah, Smith graduated from Brigham Young University with his bachelor's degree in 1974, and received his J.D. from Brigham Young University's J. Reuben Clark School of Law in 1977.[1]

Professional career

Smith was an Associate General Counsel for J.R. Simplot Company, from 1977 to 1981. Smith also served as an Adjunct Professor at Boise State University from 1979 to 1981. In 1982, Smith entered private practice in the State of Idaho from 1982 to 1995 before beginning his judicial career as a District Judge, in Idaho's Sixth Judicial District until 2007. Since 1984, Smith has served as an Adjunct Professor at Idaho State University.[1]

Judicial career

Smith was nominated to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit by George W. Bush on January 16, 2007, to a seat vacated by Thomas G. Nelson as Nelson assumed senior status. Smith was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on February 15, 2007 on a Senate vote and received commission on March 19, 2007.[2]

Awards and associations

Notable cases

Proposition 8 appeal (2011-2012)

     United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (Perry v. Brown, Appeal No. 11-16577)

On December 8, 2011, the court heard arguments from Proposition 8 supporters asking for Northern District Chief Judge James Ware's decision against them and vacate former Judge Vaughn Walker's ruling on the proposition's constitutionality. Proposition supporters argued that Judge Walker was biased against them at trial because he was involved in a same-sex relationship at the time. The panel hearing the appeal consists of Judges Michael D. Hawkins, Stephen Reinhardt and Randy Smith.[3]

For the full story, see Proposition 8 supporters ask appeals court to overturn ruling.


On February 7, 2012, a three judge appellate panel from the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued its ruling in Perry v. Brown which upheld the rulings by District Court Judges Vaughn Walker and James Ware and overturned California's Proposition 8 ,which blocked same sex marriage in the state. The panel, consisting of Judges Michael D. Hawkins, Stephen Reinhardt and Randy Smith, stated that “Proposition 8 served no purpose, and had no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California." The court ruled that the same-sex marriage ban violated the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause. The ruling states:

Although the Constitution permits communities to enact most laws they believe to be desirable, it requires that there be at least a legitimate reason for the passage of a law that treats different classes of people differently. There was no such reason that Proposition 8 could have been enacted... Under California statutory law, same-sex couples had all the rights of opposite-sex couples, regardless of their marital status...[4][5]

In effect, the court concluded that because domestic partnerships had already established equal rights for same-sex couples, the measure only served to deny these relationships the designation of "marriage." This, according to the court, was not a legitimate purpose for treating these couples differently under the law. The panel rendered split in its decision with Judge Randy Smith concurring in part and dissenting in part. The panel upheld both the decisions of Chief Judge Ware as well as Senior Judge Walker, whose original decision has been challenged on the grounds that Walker had an undisclosed long term relationship with another man at the time of the case.[6] For expansive coverage of the ballot measure and ensuing legal controversy, please see: California Proposition 8, the "Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry" Initiative (2008).

In a separate ruling, the same panel refused to release the videos from the original trial. The panel held that Walker “promised the litigants that the conditions under which the recording was maintained would not change — that there was no possibility that the recording would be broadcast to the public in the future.” Because of this, the judges determined that, “The integrity of our judicial system depends in no small part on the ability of litigants and members of the public to rely on a judge’s word. The record compels the finding that the trial judge’s representations to the parties were solemn commitments,” and that the video's should not be released.[7]

See also

External links


Federal judicial offices
Preceded by:
Thomas G. Nelson
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
Succeeded by:

IdahoIdaho Supreme CourtIdaho Court of AppealsIdaho District CourtsIdaho Magistrate DivisionUnited States District Court for the District of IdahoUnited States bankruptcy court, District of IdahoUnited States Court of Appeals for the Ninth CircuitIdaho countiesIdaho judicial newsIdaho judicial electionsJudicial selection in IdahoIdahoTemplate.jpg