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Measure would expand list for judicial appointments

Gov. Mike Leavitt could get 10 choices instead for three for judicial nominees if a bill approved by the House Monday gets Senate approval.

Rep. Chris Fox-Finlinson, R-Lehi, says it is only right that the governor get at least a chance to reject the names sent to him by the local judicial nominating council, providing he acts quickly.Under Fox-Finlinson's bill, the nominating commission would send Leavitt five names (instead of the current three names) for a judicial appointment. But it also allows the governor to reject all of those five names. However, if he doesn't pick a name within 30 days (a constitutional requirement), then the chief judge of the Supreme Court would make the appointment from the five names.

So, if Leavitt did reject all five names, he would have to hope that the nominating commission would get back to him before the 30 days ran out.

"This is a bad bill," said Rep. Dave Ure, R-Kamas. The nominating commission "has a terrific amount of power under the bill, because in reality the governor must pick one of the first five names or the chief justice will get the pick.