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President Barack Obama nominated former Centerville Mayor Ronald G. Russell on Wednesday to the U.S. District Court.
Russell's mayoral term ended in 2013. He's a shareholder in the Salt Lake City law firm of Parr, Brown, Gee & Loveless, where he focused on commercial litigation and real estate law.
Russell was one of four judicial nominations the White House announced Wednesday, with Obama saying in a statement: "I am confident they will serve the American people with integrity and a steadfast commitment to justice."
It's customary that the president consult with a state's senators to fill district court openings. Utah Sens. Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee recommended Russell.
Hatch said he was "extraordinarily pleased" with Russell's nomination.
"I am confident that Ron will make an excellent jurist, and I will work to help ensure his timely confirmation by the Senate."
Lee added his strong endorsement: "This is a good day for the federal judiciary and for Utah. Ron is an extraordinary talent, and I look forward to a speedy confirmation so that he can get to work."
Hatch and Lee are Republican members of the Judiciary Committee and will have a chance to question Russell in a committee hearing before he could reach a confirmation vote before the full Senate.
Just last month, former Utah Supreme Court Justice Jill N. Parrish joined the U.S. District Court's three other full-time judges.
The others are David Nuffer, Clark Waddoups and Robert Shelby.
The openings resulted from judges who have reached senior status, a semiretirement that means they take smaller caseloads. Those senior judges include Dee Benson, Bruce Jenkins, David Sam, Dale Kimball, Tena Campbell and Ted Stewart. Russell would fill the full-time spot opened up by Stewart taking senior status in 2014.
Parrish, Waddoups and Kimball also previously worked at the Parr, Brown firm.
Russell received his law degree from the University of Utah in 1983, and the following year he served as a clerk on the court he may soon join.
He served one term on the Centerville City Council and then was elected mayor in 2005. He served two terms, running unopposed in 2009.
Russell's wife, Kathleen, died in 2011. They have four children.