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Scott Matheson

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Scott Matheson
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Current Court Information:
United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
Title:   Judge
Appointed by:   Barack Obama
Active:   12/22/2010 - Present
Preceded by:   Michael McConnell
Personal History
Undergraduate:   Stanford U. '75
Law School:   Yale Law '80
Grad. School:   Oxford (M.A.)

Scott M. Matheson, Jr. is a federal judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. He joined the court in 2010 after being nominated by President President Barack Obama. Prior to his appointment, he was a faculty member at the S.J. Quinney College of Law, University of Utah, holdingthe Hugh B. Brown Presidential Endowed Chair.[1]

Early life and education

Matheson earned his A.B. in 1975 from Stanford University, his M.A. from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar, and his J.D. in 1980 from Yale Law School.[2]

Personal life

Matheson is the son of former Utah Governor Scott Matheson Sr., and the brother of Utah State Representative Jim Matheson.[3]

Professional career

  • 2007: Chair of the Utah Mine Safety Commission
  • 2004: Democratic candidate for Utah Governor
  • 1998-2006: Dean of the S.J. Quinney College of Law, University of Utah
  • 1993-1997: United States Attorney for the [[District of Utah]
  • 1989-1990: Professor of First Amendment Law, Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government
  • 1988-1989: Deputy County Attorney for Salt Lake County
  • 1985-1998: Faculty, S.J. Quinney College of Law, University of Utah
  • 1981-1985: Associate Attorney, Williams & Connolly LLP in Washington, D.C.[2][3]

Judicial career

Tenth Circuit

Nomination Tracker
 Candidate:Scott Matheson
 Court:Tenth Circuit
 Progress:Confirmed 294 days after nomination.
ApprovedANominated:March 3, 2010
ApprovedAABA Rating:Unanimously Qualified
ApprovedAHearing:May 13, 2010
ApprovedAReported:June 10, 2010 
ApprovedAConfirmed:December 22, 2010
 Vote: Voice vote

Matheson was nominated for a seat on the Tenth Circuit by President Barack Obama on March 3, 2010. Matheson filled the seat vacated by Michael McConnell.[4] The President called Matheson:

A distinguished candidate for the Tenth Circuit court. 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.[2][5]

Matheson received a rating of Unanimously Qualified from the American Bar Association.[6]

Judiciary Committee hearing

Matheson's Public Questionnaire Available Here
Questions for the Record available here

Matheson had a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 13, 2010. He was questioned closely by Senator Jon Kyl over his opinion on presidential authority, but faced little questioning from the rest of the committee.[7] Matheson was reported by committee on June 10, 2010.[6]

Matheson was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on December 22, 2010.[8]

Notable cases

Oklahoma Sharia Law temporary injunction (2012)

     United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit (Awad v. Ziriax, et al, 10-6273)

On January 10, 2012, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals released an anticipated ruling. The decision by the panel of Judges Terrence O'Brien, Scott Matheson and Monroe McKay, upheld a previous ruling by Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange, out of the United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, that said Oklahoma's "Sharia Law" ballot measure was unconstitutional. Supported by 70% of the state's population in 2010, the amendment prohibited courts in the state from considering international or Sharia law in deciding cases.[9]

The Tenth Circuit Court disagreed with the supporters of the amendment, who insisted that the measure was intended to disallow courts from considering any religious law in their proceedings. As a response, the opinion states, "That argument conflicts with the amendment's plain language, which mentions sharia law in two places."[10]

Because the amendment was thought to discriminate against a specific religion, in this case, Islam, strict scrutiny was applied to judging its contents. Courts often utilize a higher level of scrutiny when it is concerned a minority is being unfairly treated.[9]

See also

External links


Federal judicial offices
Preceded by:
Michael McConnell
Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals
Succeeded by:

This page is missing notable case information.