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Johnstone confirmed to 9th Circuit Court of Appeals

The U.S. Senate has voted to confirm University of Montana law professor Anthony Johnstone to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Judge Johnstone takes the seat on the court formerly held by 9th Circuit Chief Emeritus Judge Sidney Thomas, for whom Johnstone clerked to begin his law career. Judge Thomas has taken senior status.

Johnstone is a 1995 Yale University graduate. He earned his JD from the University of Chicago School of Law in 1999. 

The 49-45 confirmation vote was largely along party lines, with Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, the only Republican voting in favor. All 45 no votes were from Republicans, while 46 Democrats and two independents voted in favor.

Montana’s senators were split, with Democratic Sen. Jon Tester voting in favor and Republican Sen. Steve Daines opposing.

Tester praised Johnstone's confirmation.

“Montanans expect their judges to apply the law without bias, in a commonsense way – and that’s exactly what Anthony Johnstone has done throughout his entire legal career," Tester said. "He has an outstanding record of service to the people of the Montana, and I have no doubt that he will serve the American people well on the Ninth Circuit bench. I’m confident that Anthony will continue standing up for our constitution, and I’m proud to have helped push this Montanan’s confirmation through the United States Senate.”

Elaine Gagliardi, dean of the University of Montana’s Alexander Blewett III School of Law, released the following statement after Johnstone’s confirmation:

“It has been an exceptional privilege to work with Professor Johnstone for the past 16 years. As a professor at the University of Montana’s Blewett School of Law, he has trained a generation of Montana lawyers. I am proud to say that Judge Johnstone is the fourth professor or alumnus of Montana’s Law school to sit on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. He follows Chief Judges Walter Pope, Jim Browning and Sidney Thomas. Sixteen alumni from our small, yet outstanding, law school have become Article III judges and many more have become federal and state judges. It is an honor to have worked with Professor Johnstone.”

He went on to serve as the State Solicitor and Assistant Attorney General at the Montana Department of Justice, and for more than a decade, he has taught at the Blewett School of Law.