Wyoming Tribune Eagle 

Wyoming federal judge appointee praised by both parties


December 28, 2023

Via Wyoming News Exchange

CHEYENNE — Two current Republican federal lawmakers and two former Democratic governors expressed support for Biden administration appointee Judge Kelly H. Rankin as a judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming.

If approved by the U.S Senate, Rankin will take the place of Senior District Judge for the District of Wyoming Nancy D. Freudenthal. Among the people who endorsed Rankin was former Wyoming Gov. Dave Freudenthal, Judge Freudenthal’s husband.

In a joint statement with former Gov. Mike Sullivan, they emphasized Rankin’s commitment to public service.

“Kelly Rankin is the right choice for Wyoming,” they wrote in a statement issued Tuesday. “He has a long record of public service and dedication to the rule of law. Kelly has served as Park County attorney, U.S. attorney, counsel to the governor. He has served since 2012 as Chief Federal Magistrate Judge in Cheyenne.”

Later in their statement, the former governors added that Rankin has proven to have the right qualities for a judge in his current position as magistrate.

“Beyond his professional qualifications, Kelly is a Wyoming native and graduated from the University of Wyoming College of Law,” the statement continued. “We have both known Kelly for multiple decades in various capacities. In his professional roles and in his personal life, he has exhibited a calm, caring and thoughtful attitude. As the Chief Federal Magistrate, Judge Kelly Rankin has demonstrated judicial demeanor and good judgment, reflecting, as well, the ability to treat citizens and lawyers with respect and uniformly applying the rule of law with fairness.”

Wyoming Sens. John Barasso and Cynthia Lummis also issued statements supporting Rankin’s appointment, expressing a similarly positive sentiment.

“Judge Rankin has honorably served the state of Wyoming for decades and has dedicated his life to public service, first as a Deputy County Attorney and most recently as Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge for the District of Wyoming. I am confident he will continue to uphold the Constitution as a U.S. District Judge for Wyoming,” Lummis said in a news release. “I look forward to supporting Judge Rankin’s nomination when it comes before the Senate for a vote.”

“He has dedicated his career to serving the people of Wyoming and upholding the Constitution,” Barrasso was quoted as saying in a separate news release. “Judge Nancy Freudenthal leaves an incredible legacy that is hard to follow, but I’m confident Judge Rankin is up to the challenge.

“As Chief Magistrate, Kelly has issued hundreds of opinions and regularly assists the 10th Circuit with their caseload,” Barrasso added. “He is well-versed in the issues that will come before the court. Kelly will bring years of valuable experience to the federal bench on day one.”

Judge Freudenthal was initially appointed to the position in 2010 and, according to the Casper Star-Tribune, was the first woman to be a federal judge in the State of Wyoming.

Rankin’s office declined a request for comment, saying that officials at the White House had asked them not to speak on the matter before an official appointment.

This story was published on December 20, 2023.


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