Thursday, November 06, 2008

Is Buttars about to be Buttars again?

Rumor buzzing around Utah's legal community (well, the Salt Lake community at least) is that some GOP legislators didn't learn anything from razor-thin re-election margins and are going to continue their old ways tomorrow.

On Friday morning, Gov. Huntsman's appointee to the Court of Appeals vacancy, Robert K. Hilder, is going before the Senate Judicial Confirmation Committee. Hilder is widely regarded as one of the best judges in the 3rd District Court, a smart guy. But in a series of emails that have been circulating, some prominent lawyers have expressed concern that Buttars and etc. will ignore Hilder's qualifications, and instead punish him for one or two rulings it didn't like, such as the one five years ago when Hilder opined that state law allowed the University of Utah to exclude guns from its campus (which, incidentally, was also consistent with public sentiment).

As this morning's Tribune (and Huntsman's 77% vote) pointed out, Utahns want moderation these days, not more of the same ol'. Perhaps these lawyers are just paranoid. But with Chris Buttars involved, this may be one of those times when being paranoid doesn't mean that someone isn't out to get you.


Anonymous said...

Actually, there may be several valid reasons beyond his overturned gun decision that would motivate the Governor to find another qualified individual.

Voice of Utah said...

Such as?

Anonymous said...

For one he made a verbal ruling from the bench, on a case, which he himself described as career ending. It's not a very intelligent thing to do, leave the writing of a "narrow" ruling to the attorney that won. Trial Law 101 - if you get the blessing to write the opinion put everything in it you can and hope the other party doesn't object, and a lazy judge will sign into precedent more than he actually ordered. Which is what happened in this case and Judge Hilder is left with a much broader "ruling" then he "intended," and perhaps he is suffering the consequences now.