President Barack Obama on Thursday nominated Wyoming Attorney General Gregory Phillips for a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.
Phillips, a native of Evanston and a University of Wyoming graduate, has served as Wyoming’s attorney general under Gov. Matt Mead since March 2011. He also served in the U.S. Attorney’s Office with Mead.
In prepared remarks concerning Phillips and another appeals court nominee, Obama said the two “have proven themselves to be not only first-rate legal minds but faithful public servants. It is with full confidence in their ability, integrity and independence that I nominate them to the bench of the United States Court of Appeals.”
Phillips’s nomination stands a good chance of succeeding, said Carl Tobias, Williams Professor for the University of Richmond School of Law. There are only two appeals court nominees who are in line ahead of him for a hearing before the Senate
Tobias expects the hearing could happen in March or April.
“He has quite a bit of experience in the federal system,” Tobias said. “He has the qualities that are important to sit on that important court.”
Phillips joined his father and brother in their general law practice in Evanston in 1989. From 1993 to 1999, he represented Uinta County in the Wyoming Senate. In 1998, he opened the law firm Mead & Phillips.
In 2003, he joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office while Mead was the U.S. Attorney for Wyoming. Phillips handled criminal prosecutions before Mead selected him to be attorney general.
Staff writer Joshua Wolfson contributed to this report.