WASHINGTON — The Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled a confirmation hearing for 10th Circuit Court of Appeals nominee Scott Matheson Jr. for Thursday, May 13.

Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., announced Friday that the committee will question Matheson alone during the first portion of a hearing that day, and in the second part will question four nominees to lower federal district courts in Rhode Island, Maryland and Minnesota.

Matheson, son of former Utah Gov. Scott Matheson Sr. and brother of Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, was nominated to the appeals court on March 20 by President Barack Obama.

His nomination quickly created a stir when some critics questioned whether Obama nominated him to seek the vote of his brother for the Democrats' health care reform bill (Jim Matheson was among few Democrats to vote against it). Even Utah Republican officials defended the Mathesons against such charges and said Scott Matheson is highly qualified for the judgeship.

He is a University of Utah law professor and former dean of the law school, the former U.S. attorney for Utah, a former Democratic nominee for Utah governor and a former Salt Lake County prosecutor.

He has a law degree from Yale University, was a Rhodes Scholar and received a master's degree from Oxford University and earned a bachelor's degree with distinction from Stanford University.

He filed answers to a committee questionnaire that show he is technically a millionaire, with a net worth of $1.89 million. He listed no debt. His assets include his home, valued at $448,400; deferred retirement plans, valued at $1.25 million; and securities investments of about $29,000.

His 2009 income included a salary of $183,000 from the University of Utah, and $10,000 for winning the Roy C. Palmer Civil Liberties Prize for a book he wrote, "Presidential Constitutionalism in Perilous Times." He wrote he had not received royalties from Harvard University Press for that book yet, but said he may soon.

His answers to the questionnaire also show that his name was not always Scott Matheson Jr.

"After my grandfather, Scott Milne Matheson, died in 1958, my father dropped the 'Jr.' from his name and replaced the 'III' in mine. I was originally named Scott Milne Matheson III," Matheson wrote in response to a Senate question about any different names he had used in his lifetime. His name was changed when he was 5 years old.

Matheson was also asked in his questionnaire to list the top 10 court cases in which he has been involved.

He included a murder case he prosecuted in 1989, a libel case in which he helped defend The Washington Post and another libel case in which he defended the St. George Spectrum newspaper.

This story was reported from Salt Lake City.

e-mail: lee@desnews.com