Idaho Falls attorney appears before Senate Judiciary Committee

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WASHINGTON — Idaho Falls attorney Ryan Nelson spent Wednesday fielding questions from Democrat and Republican senators during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.

Nelson was nominated by President Donald Trump in May to serve as a judge on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The hearing was led by Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Crapo highlighted Nelson’s thorough legal experience during the hearing.

“Ryan has been widely recognized by his peers for his judgement and legal acumen. As a native Idahoan going back generations, Ryan has spent considerable amount of his career focusing on the bountiful natural resources and incredible environment enjoyed by us Westerners,” Crapo said in a news release. “He understand the importance of not just how the law works and the development and implementation, but also respects that the ultimate rulemaker in our federal system is Congress.”

Nelson is the former general counsel of Melaleuca Inc., where he worked for a number of years. He has also worked in the federal government as special counsel for Supreme Court nominations to the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee; as deputy general counsel to the White House Office of Management and Budget; and as deputy assistant attorney general in the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the United States Department of Justice.

As part of his hearing, Nelson was introduced to the committee by Idaho Sen. Jim Risch, who said, “Ryan has a deep understanding of the unique issues involving land and water that directly impact the West and directly impact Western culture. … In light of his qualifications and his outstanding record of public service, I respectfully ask the committee to send this nomination to the full Senate for confirmation.”

Nelson’s nomination will be voted on at a date to be determined by the Senate Judiciary Committee. If confirmed, Nelson will take the seat of Judge Randy Smith of Pocatello, who announced he will take senior status later this year.

Previously Nelson had been nominated by Trump to be solicitor at the Department of Interior. Although approved by the Senate Energy Committee, his name was later withdrawn due to his nomination to the 9th Circuit Court.

During the hearing, he answered senators’ questions about various topics that included climate change, LGBT rights and his legal experience.

Wednesday’s entire hearing can be found on the Senate Judiciary Committee’s website.