Idaho Judicial Council submits three finalists, all women, for Supreme Court vacancy

By Devon Downey, Idaho Reports

The Idaho Judicial Council announced on Wednesday the finalists to replace retiring Justice Roger Burdick. The finalists are:

Jessica M. Lorello of Meridian, a judge on the Idaho Court of Appeals
Diane M. Walker also of Meridian, a magistrate judge in the Fourth Judicial District
Colleen D. Zahn of Boise, an Idaho deputy attorney general in the Criminal Law division

Whomever is chosen by the Governor will be the fourth woman to serve on the Idaho Supreme Court, following Justice Linda Copple Trout, who served from 1992-2007, Justice Cathy Silak, who served from 1993-2001, and Justice Robyn Brody, who was first elected in 2016. Trout also served as Chief Justice of the Idaho Supreme Court from 1997-2004.

Among those interviewed by the council to be a justice was Bart Davis, former Idaho Senate Majority Leader and, most recently, U.S. Attorney for the District of Idaho. 

A press release from the Idaho Judicial Branch states that nine attorneys and judges applied, with Lorello, Walker, and Zahn being listed as finalists. 

The finalists were interviewed on April 27th by the Judicial Council. Gov. Brad LIttle will select the next justice from the three finalists. 

The release also notes that Burdick will retire June 30th, “after 47 years as an attorney, judge and justice in Idaho’s courts.” The term for the position Burdick is vacating ends in January 2023; The candidate Little chooses has the option to run for the next six-year term in the May 2022 election. 

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