Montana has two new federal judges. The U.S. Senate Thursday confirmed the nomination of Brian Morris, a Montana Supreme Court justice, and Susan P. Watters, a state trial judge, to serve on the U.S. District Court for Montana.
Senators confirmed Morris, 50, by a 75-20 vote and Watters, 55, received 77-19 vote.
Morris has served on the state Supreme Court since 2005 and was the state’s solicitor general prior to that. From 2000 to 2001 he served as a senior legal officer at the U.N. Compensation Commission in Geneva, Switzerland and as a legal assistant for the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal in The Hague from 1994 to 1995.
Morris received his law degree from StanfordLawSchool in 1992 and went on to serve as law clerk for Judge John T. Noonan of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 1992-93 and for U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist from 1993-94.
Watters has been a state judge in Billings since 1998. Prior to that she worked at the Hendrickson, Everson, Noennig & Woodward law firm and as a deputy county attorney for the Yellowstone County Attorney’s Office.
She is a native of Billings and received her law degree from the University of Montana School of Law in 1988.
Morris fills the vacancy of Judge Sam Haddon, who assumed senior status in December 2012.
Watters takes the place of former Chief Judge Richard Cebull, who retired from the bench in March 2013 after an embarrassing incident of passing around a crude, and some say racially offensive, joke about President Obama.
The two confirmations fill the three-judge court in Montana.