"Selection of judges shall be based solely upon consideration of fitness for office without regard to any partisan political consideration."


Judicial nominating commissions help select candidates for judicial vacancies. There is a nominating commission for each judicial district, including the appellate courts. Each commission consists of seven commissioners appointed by the Governor to serve a four-year term. Each commissioner must be a U.S. citizen, a resident of Utah, and a resident of the judicial district the commission is representing. Commissioners may not be members of the state Legislature and may not serve successive terms.


Nomination Steps

The Utah Constitution establishes merit selection as the exclusive method of choosing a state court judge. A commission shall select and nominate judges based solely on fitness for the position, without regard to any partisan political consideration. There are four steps in Utah's merit selection plan:

  • Nomination - made by a judicial nomination commission
  • Appointment by the Governor
  • Confirmation by the state senate &
  • Retention election

For more information regarding retention elections please visit the Utah Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission.

Process & Review

Commission members review the applications for vacant judicial positions and select candidates to interview. After interviews have been conducted, the Commission refers five names (for district and juvenile court judges) or seven names (for appellate court judges) to the Governor. The Governor appoints one of the nominees who must then be confirmed by a majority of the Utah State Senate. Judicial Nominating Commissions are governed by the Utah Constitution, law, and administrative rules:


MEET THE commissions



Business and Chancery

Jon Hafen

Rick Hoffman

Gordon Smith

Melanie Vartabedian

Taymour Semnani

Lowry Snow

Mica McKinney

First Judicial District


Second Judicial District

Kendalyn Harris, Chair

Thomas Kay

Ivy Telles

Ryan Robinson

Greg Skordas

Lorene Kamalu

Ben Onofrio

Third Judicial District

John Huber, Chair

Patricia Cassell

Marina Tateoka

Fred Lampropolus

Stan Parrish

Liz Halloran

Mayor Debbie Winn

Fourth Judicial District

Shaynie Hunter

John Kwarm

Tyson Skeen, Chair

David Morin

Mary Nielson

Luke Searle

Jeannette Bennett


Fifth Judicial District

Maile Wilson, Chair

Erin Waldman

Victoria Carlton

Angie Reddish-Day

Christa Hinton

Kristy Pike

Melanie Lightfoot

Sixth Judicial District

Aaron Peterson

Douglas Neeley

Judy Habbeshaw 

Andrew Stavros, Chair

Nicole Colby

Michael Labrum

David Ogden

Seventh Judicial District

Britney Ivins, Chair

Dominique Kiahtipes

Kristine Rogers

Gil Conover

Mckette Allred

Ryan Bennally

Greg Funk

Eighth Judicial District