SALT LAKE CITY -- The big news coming out of some Senate confirmations Wednesday wasn't the four judges who were confirmed -- it was the one judicial nominee whose name wasn't brought up for confirmation, Ogden attorney Catherine S. Conklin , who was slated to fill a vacancy on the 2nd District Court bench.
The nonvote means the nominee process is open and will have to start anew, said Sen. Scott Jenkins, R-Plain City, who chairs a key Senate committee that screens nominees and then forwards the recommendations to the full Senate for further action.
Conklin was slated to fill the post held by Judge Michael D. Lyon, who retired Sept. 1.
In a hearing Monday, Jenkins opted to vote against the nomination, but he told the Standard-Examiner he didn't think his vote was a deal-breaker. Conklin's name was still advanced out of committee by a 3-1 recommendation. Jenkins was surprised the nomination was not advanced to the Senate floor for consideration during the specially called session. He said a number of judicial nominees have had negative votes cast against them in committee and still have been confirmed by the Senate.
Sen. Stuart Reid, R-Ogden, is also on the committee but was not present for the vote Monday.
Jenkins declined to specify why he did not support the appointment, but did describe Conklin as a wonderful lady.
Gov. Gary Herbert had recommended the appointment of Conklin, describing her as possessing outstanding skills and a breadth of practice that would make her an asset to the bench.
The committee met in closed session for a time on the appointment and did raise some questions about financial matters in the open session, according to Ogden resident Dan Deuel, who was at the hearing to speak against the appointment.
Deuel voiced opposition to the appointment because of Conklin's involvement in the Aubree Jo Anderson case in 2011, in which a 3-year-old was killed in a single-car crash. Her mother, Brandi Stilke, was driving with marijuana and Oxycontin in her system when she crashed. Stilke was sent to prison.
Aubree's grandparents, Dale and Julie Anderson, believe the death could have been prevented if their son was not been denied his parental rights to custody. The Andersons also spoke against the appointment.
Jenkins said he didn't think the Anderson case was the reason the Senate opted not to move forward with the appointment.