Michael O. Leavitt Center for Politics & Public Service

Project Prologue

The Scope of Governor Leavitt’s Impact on Utah’s Judiciary

Governor Michael O. Leavitt’s impact on Utah’s judiciary is was historic. When one considers the sheer number of appointments made, the growth of Utah’s government supporting the courts, and the average term of judges, this is really a legacy in its truest sense. With 64 appointments, the imprint he made approaches 75-80% of the current judges. When one multiplies those appointments by everything from the growing case loads to pioneering efforts in specialty courts, it is not an overstatement to say that Governor Leavitt has been a founding father of Utah’s judiciary. (Attach the Appointment Lists) One needs to consider the impact of the years of service of those judges put into the bench as well. Some of the Leavitt appointees have already retired, and the Governor created a career for so many people on the bench, and their legacies stand. The sheer numbers are staggering, and many appointments were brand new positions, particularly in the juvenile court. Some were a result of policy decisions to eliminate court commissioners and give them full judicial authority. Some of those that were district court appointments have been moved up to appellate court appointments. Judge Thorne is an example of that. Looking at (more…)


Michael O. Leavitt Center for Politics and Public Service