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Idaho Supreme Court justice to step down. This is why, and what happens next

BOISE (Idaho Statesman) — An Idaho Supreme Court justice who championed higher judicial pay and won elections to six-year terms three times says he will retire this summer.
Justice Roger Burdick, 73, of Boise, has spent 47 years as a lawyer, prosecutor, public defender and judge, including time as Idaho’s chief justice.
“Throughout his career, Justice Burdick has demonstrated how public service is a calling, not just a job,” said the current chief justice, G. Richard Bevan, in a news release. “His continual push for improvement and excellence in all areas has benefited Idahoans, and we will miss his presence on the Supreme Court.”
As chief justice of the five-member court, Burdick told the Legislature that Idaho struggled to recruit and retain district court judges because of low pay.
“The Judicial Council can rarely send a full slate of four names to the governor for appointment,” he told lawmakers in the court’s annual State of the Judiciary address in 2013. “The reasons are many — the overwhelming workload that many district judges face in terms of numbers, as well as complexity; the prospect of contested election; as well as the inadequate compensation of that position.”
Burdick himself earned $123,400 per year then and earns $157,800 now. (The chief justice earns $3,000 more.) Idaho district judges now earn $141,800 per year. The median U.S. pay for judges and magistrates was $128,550 in 2019, the latest year available from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
He earned his law degree from the University of Idaho in 1974 as joined a Twin Falls law firm. He later was a deputy prosecutor in Ada County and a public defender in south-central Idaho before being elected Jerome County prosecutor in 1980. He was appointed a district judge in Twin Falls County in 1993 and, in 2003, appointed by Republican Gov. Dirk Kempthorne to the Supreme Court.
He won the nonpartisan judicial election in 2004. He defeated a Lewiston district judge, John Bradbury, to retain his seat in 2010, and ran unopposed in 2016. By retiring early — his planned date is June 30 — he will allow Gov. Brad Little to appoint someone to complete his term, which expires in January 2023, and gain the advantage of incumbency in the May 2022 primary election.
“I don’t think people understand how lucky we are in Idaho,” he said in the news release. “You don’t get anywhere without the support of the people around you, and that’s why every day you treat them like gold.”
Little will choose his appointee from a list of two to four names provided by the seven-member Idaho Judicial Council, to whom applicants for Burdick’s seat may apply.
In retirement, Burdick will apply to serve as a senior judge, taking on periodic cases to help ease the workload across the judiciary, the news release said.
The post Idaho Supreme Court justice to step down. This is why, and what happens next appeared first on East Idaho News.

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