- Associated Press - Friday, April 8, 2016

POCATELLO, Idaho (AP) - A southeastern Idaho law firm has been the starting place for a long line of influential judges.

The Idaho State Journal (https://bit.ly/1S1wuV7 ) reports that Idaho 6th District Judge David Nye, who was recently nominated by President Barack Obama to seat on the federal bench, used to work as an attorney at Merrill and Merrill law firm in Pocatello.

The law firm has also employed Circuit Judge N. Randy Smith, who was appointed by former President George W. Bush to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2007. Smith wrote the dissenting opinion on the court’s 2-1 ruling declaring California’s same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional in 2012.

Meanwhile, District Judge Steven Dunn and Magistrate Judge Thomas Clark for Idaho’s 6th Judicial District both have roots working as attorneys for Merrill and Merrill.

Dave Gallafent, the firm’s managing partner, says working in a small town means attorneys gain experience learning various aspects of the law, which is beneficial while transitioning to being a judge.

He added that Nye, Smith, Dunn and Clark all specialized in civil litigation.

“We do have talented people here, but part of their success is that they wanted to be judges,” said Gallafent.

The law firm has been churning out future judges since it first opened more than 100 years ago. The original owner Frank S. Dietrich was appointed as a U.S. District Court judge in 1907.


Information from: Idaho State Journal, https://www.journalnet.com

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