New Utah vacancy on the 10th Circuit appeals court

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Washington • A new vacancy has opened up on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals traditionally saved for a Utahn after Judge Michael R. Murphy announced Monday he would take on a more limited role.

Murphy, 65, who served as a state judge in Utah before President Bill Clinton tapped him for the circuit court in 1995, will take senior status with the appellate panel, a move that means he will hear fewer cases and open up a full-time spot.

It will be up to President Barack Obama to nominate, and the Senate to confirm, a new judge for the circuit that covers Utah and five other states.

Two seats on the circuit are reserved for Utahns; the state's other spot is held by Judge Scott Matheson Jr.

Thomas Burr