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After 10-Month Wait, Judge Carolyn McHugh Confirmed for 10th Cir.

By Gabriella Khorasanee, JD on March 14, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Judge Carolyn McHugh was nominated to the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit on May 16, 2013. It took nearly 10 months to confirm her, despite her candidacy being non-controversial and supported by Democrats and Republicans alike.

Why did it take so long? Politics, of course.

The Political Landscape of Confirming Judges

Judge Carolyn McHugh was confirmed unanimously on Wednesday (March 12) -- just two days after 34 Republicans voted to block her nomination, reports MSNBC. Republicans and Democrats are pointing fingers at each other, with Democrats on one side blaming Republicans for filibusters and wasting "time and money to annoy Senate Democrats," while Republicans argue that's the only way to show their discontent with the Democrats' "nuclear option" of bringing back majority-rule voting on judicial nominees, reports according to MSNBC.

But, enough about the blame game, let's get to know Judge Carolyn McHugh.

Judge Carolyn McHugh

Judge Carolyn McHugh received her undergraduate and law degrees at the University of Utah, and was a member of the Utah Law Review and Order of the Coif. After graduating from law school, she clerked for Utah federal court Judge Bruce S. Jenkins, then went on to private practice.

As an attorney, McHugh practiced civil commercial litigation, with a specialty in environmental law, as a shareholder at Parr Brown Gee & Loveless, according to the Alliance for Justice. McHugh also taught law at the University of Utah's S.J. Quinney College of Law, and in 2005, she was appointed to the Utah Court of Appeals.

Both of Utah's senators had positive remarks about Judge McHugh's confirmation; Senator Orrin Hatch stated: "She's going to be great. ... She's a very fine woman, and I think she'll be a great addition to that court. I think highly of her," reports The Salt Lake Tribune. Senator Mike Lee echoed those sentiments and stated, "I found her then and I found her this time to be an outstanding candidate for judicial office," according to the Tribune.

Judge Carolyn McHugh's confirmation to the Tenth Circuit shifts the balance of nominees to the bench slightly, with six judges nominated by Democrats and five judges nominated by Republicans.

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