U.S. Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch have repeatedly declined to comment on the secret selection process they now have under way for a successor to U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge, who is taking senior status on July 3. But Thursday, they issued a statement about a Spokesman-Review report from Tuesday, that it appears they aren’t interviewing female candidates for the job.
“Several news outlets have inquired about the selection of a U.S. District Judge for Idaho,” the senators stated. “We want a confidential process and applicants have also requested a confidential process. Men and women, sitting judges and attorneys, are being interviewed. The process is ongoing. The White House will make the final selection with the Senate voting on confirmation of the nomination.”
According to the Spokesman-Review, multiple sources say four finalists have been interviewed for the position — all men — while at least five prominent female Idaho attorneys, including the current U.S. attorney for Idaho and a current U.S. magistrate judge, say they've applied but have not been interviewed.
Idaho is the only district in the 9th Circuit, and one of just two in the nation, with no female district judge. After the article appeared, the Spokesman-Review’s Betsy Z. Russell again requested information from Sen. Crapo's office about the selection process, including whether additional finalists have been interviewed, how many applications have been received, and why the senators chose a secret process, in contrast to Idaho's last federal judicial selection process in 1996. This is the first response she’s received, she wrote Thursday.