Former Lewiston representative Liz Chavez got a little gentle grilling during her Senate confirmation hearing Monday, but received expressions of support as well.
Chavez told the Idaho Legislature's Senate Judiciary and Rules Committee she was "surprised and honored" when the governor asked her to serve on the council last summer, but she has enjoyed the work.
The council evaluates and recommends people to fill vacancies on various state courts; it also handles disciplinary hearings and complaints against judges.
"As a former middle school social studies teacher and after two terms in the Legislature, I was aware how important the judiciary is, but I have an even greater appreciation now," Chavez said. "As a citizen member of the council, I've been pleased to see the work of the judiciary and council regarding transparency, fairness for all parties and the ongoing evaluation of judges."
Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis, R-Idaho Falls, said the Judicial Council "is one of the more important boards we have. I applaud you for the confidence the governor has shown in you."
Davis asked Chavez for her views regarding the confidentiality of complaints against judges. Given that state law limits how many council members can be from the same political party, Davis also wondered "if there are moments of partisanship, or if the council is able to work together independent of political stripes?"
"I have no idea what the council's party makeup is, and I don't care," Chavez replied. "I never looked at party when I worked with legislators on water issues or other issues that benefited the state. They weren't partisan issues, they were Idaho issues. It's the same with this."
The committee will vote on her appointment Wednesday, after which it goes to the full Senate. If confirmed, her appointment will run through June 30, 2017.
Distributed by MCT Information Services
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