Judge Amanda Brailsford – Nominee to the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho

The Idaho Federal Courthouse in Pocatello, where Nye will likely sit.

Being a District Judge in Idaho is largely a thankless job. The state has only two judgeships, and the judges handle a large caseload. Nonetheless, Idaho’s senators have reached a compromise candidate with the White House willing to accept the spot: Judge Amanda Brailsford.


A native Idahoan, Brailsford grew up in Hagerman in Southern Idaho. She received a B.A. from the University of Idaho in 1989 and a J.D. from the University of Idaho School of Law in 1993. Brailsford then clerked for Judge Thomas Nelson on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

After her clerkship, Brailsford joined the Boise office of Holland & Hart LLP, as an associate. She was promoted to a partner there eight years later. Brailsford then founded Andersen Banducci PLLC in 2013.

In 2018, Brailsford applied for a seat on the Idaho Supreme Court but was appointed by Republican Governor Butch Otter to a judgeship on Idaho’s Court of Appeals. See In a First, More Women than Men Apply to Idaho High Court, A.P. State & Local Wire, July 31, 2018.

History of the Seat

The District of Idaho, which covers the entire state, has only two authorized active judgeships. Brailsford has been nominated, upon the recommendation of Idaho Senators Michael Crapo and James Risch, to replace Judge B. Lynn Winmill, who took senior status on August 16, 2021. If confirmed, Brailsford would be the first woman on the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho.

Legal Experience

For approximately twenty-five years before she became a judge, Brailsford worked as a civil litigator. During this time, she argued a number of cases before the Idaho Supreme Court. See, e.g., Spur Prods. Corp. v. Stoel Rives LLP, 122 P.3d 300 (Idaho 2005). For example, Brailsford represented Dr. Mark Miller, a doctor who was sued for violating the non-compete provision of his contract with his prior employer. See Intermountain Eye Laser Ctrs., PLLC v. Miller, 127 P.3d 121 (Idaho 2005). After a lower court granted summary judgment to Dr. Miller, the Idaho Supreme Court reversed. See id. at 133.


Since her appointment in 2019, Brailsford has served on the Idaho Court of Appeals, which serves as an intermediate appellate court.

In her time on the court, Brailsford has written opinions in both criminal and civil cases. For example, Brailsford wrote for the court in affirming Cyrus Buehler’s aggravated DUI conviction. She also wrote for the court in affirming the denial of postconviction relief for Thomas Chaput, finding that he had failed to preserve his challenge.

On the civil side, Brailsford affirmed the denial of a concealed weapon license to Darrell Gunderson. Among other arguments, Brailsford rejected the challenge that the law barring his license violated the provision against ex post facto laws, or criminal laws having retroactive effect. Brailsford found that the firearms provision, even though it bars based on criminal conviction, is a regulatory measure and not intended to “punish” criminal conduct. As such, Brailsford ruled that the law was unlawful.

Overall Assessment

Nominated by a Democratic president with support from her Republican senators, Brailsford is expected to sail to confirmation. She should also be helped along the way by her relatively non-political background and the lack of major controversies in her time on the bench.


  1. It’s truly astonishing how bad Dems luck is in every way.

    WHY didn’t the senate rules package include proxy voting on the committees like Dems allowed Reps to have during the tied session? Just make proxy voting available to BOTH parties on the committees, what will Republicans say, how dare you give yourself the same rights you gave us?


    • Democrats probably didn’t change the proxy rule because they are thinking the same thing many people on this blog are thinking. That there is plenty of time. No need to change rules, instead let’s protect the institution because you have all the time in the world.

      Now we have five weeks straight of the senate being in session. Week one only because of senator Crapo having Covid, it was a 48-48 senate. Out of the remaining 4 weeks, the Democrats will be lucky to have an outright majority in one of them depending on how long Feinstein will be out.

      And we have gotten one new “batch” which consisted of one new Article 3 nominee. We have had a SJC hearing cancelled & a SJC nominations slot missed. But hey no need to worry, we have all the time in the world.


      • I’m thinking… thank goodness Warnock, Kelly, & Cortez Masto all won re-election. The Senate would effectively be dysfunctional right now if Herschel Walker had beat Warnock. (I’m excluding Fetterman because he’s the one with a long term absence; it’s +1 vs. -1 for each of Warnock/Walker, Kelly/Masters, & Cortez Masto/Laxalt — with Fetterman/Oz it’s currently 0 vs. -1)


      • Also, you need to realize that Democrats have 12 senators who are 75 or older. Republicans only have 4.

        Of course, not all of the 75+ y.o. senators have health problems, and some Dems well under 75 are having serious health problems. But when you have that many Senators over 75, you better have a plan in case some of them do have prolonged medical absences.

        I’ll list the 12 Dem senators who are 75+ and the general consensus on how often they miss votes.

        Feinstein (89)- lots of missed votes
        Sanders (81)- lots of missed votes but they are intermittant and generally not due to health reasons
        Cardin (79)- few missed votes
        King (78)- few missed votes
        Durbin (78)- few missed votes
        Blumenthal (76)- few missed votes
        Markey (76)- few missed votes
        Carper (76)- few missed votes
        Shaheen (76)- few missed votes
        Welch (75)- no missed votes in the Senate so far
        Manchin (75)- some missed votes
        Hirono (75)- no missed votes since mid-2021

        Prolonged absences from younger Dems:

        Van Hollen (64)- stroke
        Fetterman (53)- stroke, severe depression
        Lujan (50)- stroke

        The 4 Republicans who are 75+ are Grassley, Turtle (Mitch McConnell), Risch, & Romney. None of them are known for missing lots of votes.
        The only notable prolonged GOP absence since Biden took office is Mike Rounds, who lost his wife to cancer in late 2021.


  2. Remind me again who were the ones that ridiculed me last week when I said Delaney might be the first Biden nominee rejected? Now it’s on CNN.com front page.

    According to the article, when word got out that he may be the nominee last April, the sexual assault victims family reached out to the New Hampshire senators. Now that he has been nominated, the article says the family is speaking to SJC Democrat senators one by one. And the statements the senators are giving based on the article only reenforces my statement from last week.

    I’m actually most upset that it took from April until January to nominate him. 9 months of going back & fourth over if he will be the nominee or not. All that time wasted.



    • You just don’t like this nominee. I’ll ask again: what did Delaney do that was wrong? Let’s not let ONE person with an unfounded complaint sink a nominee.

      I took the time to review the answers to the written questions provided by Delaney.

      It looks like only Feinstein is pushing back based on the manner that she asked questions.

      She’s the last person who can complain about a survivor name being outed(not the case here) .

      It was one of Feinstein’s staffers who leaked Christine Blasey Ford’s name out to the press.

      Talking about hypocrisy!


    • Proxy/Discharge

      Comments above seem to have confused these two different things. I think the posters mean discharge, which isn’t available, not proxy voting, which always is.
      Please remember that the rules on discharge was a special provision and creature of the 50-50 senate, based on the precedent of the power-sharing agreement from 2002. It was never a standing/regular rule. It wasn’t taken away, it just expired at the end of the 117th congress.
      I can see a future senate voting to make this a standing rule, especially since the senate will always have old senators who might have prolonged medical absences.

      I just wish the dems fully come out either in favor or against this nominee and be done with it. So much time wasted. This ambiguity is breeding terrible headlines like this one.


    • I’m sure this issue is partly why it took 9 months in the first place – the coverage around Delaney indicates that the administration and Senators were aware of this issue long before his name became public. I don’t have any inside info, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the delay was because the WH considered going with someone else because of this and Shaheen/Hassan are insisting on Delaney. Both NH senators certainly still been pushing for him despite all this, so it looks like it will just come down to how much pull they have with the other Dem senators.

      As much as I’ve disparaged the WH’s work on judges since the midterms, I’m not surprised that they won’t pull the Delaney nomination as long as Shaheen/Hassan are insisting on it. I wish the NH senators would just get over themselves and nominate someone else already, but nobody will be shocked to hear that senators have big egos and want everything (especially anything related to their state) done their way.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. If nothing else, NH’s senators are still ticked off about NH losing their place in the Democratic primary.
    No way they will cave on Delaney’s nomination until it’s made clear the votes aren’t there.
    My take is that he either withdraws or is voted down, the optics and politics on this are just too toxic IMO, and his performance at the committee hearing drives that point home.


  4. @yshawnee68

    It’s not that I do not like or dislike the nominee. As I’ve said in the past, he didn’t blow my socks off, but I wasn’t expecting much from this seat in the first place. My issue is I want young progressives confirmed in circuit court & blue state district court seats. That will not happen with this nominee, so my second ask is that a Democrat at least fills the seat.

    My worry is, if this nomination moves forward, we may not get a vote on him for 8 or 9 months because senators will keep going back & fourth over to vote for him or not. If he ultimately isn’t confirmed & the process starts all over again in September or October, I have very little confidence in this White House that we will get a nominee announced before February 2024. With it being a presidential election year, the senate likely being out entire months at a time, the 3-day work week & any number of reasons a senator or two can be out, I want as many nominees confirmed THIS year. But of course, if you are part of the “We have all the time in the world camp”, then you wouldn’t share the same concerns as me.

    @Ryan Joshi

    Very good, detailed list. The inherent 75 & older senators plus bad luck is just one reason why I’ll continue to argue no we do not have all the time in the world.


    RIGHT. No more slow walking answers. They know if they are or are not going to vote for Delaney. What we need now is clear & decisive statements so that we can move forward or withdraw. What we do NOT need is to waste 8 or 9 months & he is not confirmed.


    Totally. While I’m sure both senators feel very strongly about Delaney, they had 9 months to read the room. They should have put forward another nominee if the victim’s family combined with progressive groups were pushing this hard for 9 months.

    Liked by 1 person

    • @Dequan
      “They should have put forward another nominee if the victim’s family combined with progressive groups were pushing this hard for 9 months.”

      We should name this bizarre phenomenon: The Hochul Error/Miscalculation/Folly/etc.

      When you have interest groups telling you that they will oppose a potential nominee before you even make the nomination, think twice.


      • The only difference in the two situations is at least the two New Hampshire senators are two competent Democrats. They should have read the room, particularly with Democrats looking like they could lose the senate in April of last year.

        In Hochul’s case she is an incompetent Republican (Sorry, I will never call her a Democrat again). Speaking of her, when is she going to put forward a second conservative and/or Republican for chief justice? The NY senate needs to get the ball rolling on defeating whoever she puts forward so she can be humiliated again. Anything bad that happens to Hochul (Politically) is a great day in my book & brings us closer to her being primaried in 2026.


      • Haha!
        First, the Judicial Nomination Commission is still accepting applications, I think until March 7th. Then the Commission will review those resumes and send Hochul a shortlist of 7. I don’t remember the timeline for this, but I think it’s probably a month or more. Then she’ll have about a month to pick one name from the list.
        I’d say this process may go until August, a full year since JDF’s resignation, before it’s complete — not accounting for the possibility that the senate may reject the nominee again.


      • Ugghhh, August… Well the good news is I’m sure she will screw something else up before then. So I’ll wait for that. Since the senate is out the entire month of August, arguing against the next Republican Hochul nominates should keep me busy during their absence.


  5. Put it bluntly, the politics of NH is such where I don’t believe the concerns of progressive groups was ever going to be an issue when it came to a nominee.
    The Prout family and the topic of sexual assault is a whole different story and it still boggles my mind after the Kavanaugh saga that Hassan and Shaheen didn’t think this would be an issue.
    As for the Democratic senators, they aren’t on the fence, they just don’t want to come right out and say the votes aren’t there.
    They need to do so and get this farce over with so we can get a new nominee.


    • That’s because there’s pattern in Delaney’s background. Only one person is complaining and without any merit.

      Delaney did’t have any connection with Prout other than representing the school district.

      Are we going oppose Bloomekratz because she volunteered to represent a rapist?

      It was the Democratic side that leaked Ford’s name to the media.

      It’s sheer desperation to smear a good nominee.


      • @shawnee68

        I’ll answer your second question first. No, we are not going to oppose Bloomekatz because of who she or any other nominee represented. Not only who you represent should not count against you, but the Constitution demands you vigorously give them the best defense possible. That is not the issue with Delaney however.

        The issue is the tactics he is alleged to have used. Once again, I am not saying he is guilty, but we have to take a look as a whole at the situation.

        First, any client can ask their attorney to do anything to defend them. The attorney does not have to do the request. They can advise their client against it & if they insist on it being done, the lawyer can step aside from the case if he feels it is unethical or wrong.

        Second, regardless of if the allegations are true or not, Delaney had a bad SJC hearing. You bought up people like me just want to see his nomination dropped because we never liked him in the first place. However I dislike the Childs & Pan nominations to the DC circuit MUCH more then this nomination. Never once did I or anybody else question their ethics or performance at their SJC hearings. Same thing for the many other Biden nominees that we thought were subpar. As a matter of fact, to my knowledge I’ve only disparaged two previous Biden nominees SJC performances, Christine O’Hearn & Charnelle Bjelkengren.


      • I’ve been asking what Delaney did wrong and still don’t have a real answer.Please elaborate on what Delaney “allegedly” did that was unethical.

        The only ethics in question are for the attorney’s who represented Prout.

        They filed a motion for a protective order but wanted to try the case in the media. They wanted to have it both ways to get leverage for a settlement.

        I’m not OCD on any of the nominees . If they can do the job and be fair I am good. That’s me.

        The client as represented by Delaney had a duty to file a response to the motion. An attorney in Delaney’s position would have no basis to not do what his employer asked him to do.

        If he was asked to do something illegal or unethical then of course he could refuse to do so. That wasn’t the case here as just some greedy attorney’s who were admonished in another case for their litigation tactics.

        Do you think you could not do what your employer asked you to do and still be gainfully employed?


      • I don’t believe anybody is accusing Delaney of doing anything “wrong” or “unethical”. I believe the allegation is does he deserve to be rewarded a lifetime position, one step below the highest court in the land. You could be an attorney who has never done anything wrong or unethical in your life & people still can feel you don’t deserve to be a circuit court judge.

        So the question is does Mr. Delaney deserve this reward that only 179 people in our country can actively have. According to the article, “Delaney argued that the victim should only remain anonymous if certain conditions were met. In the event the case went to trial, Delaney argued she should be stripped of her anonymity entirely, which the victim’s family believes was intended to have a chilling effect.”

        To some people, that may be disqualifying. Combine that with his performance at the SJC, him leaving the case altogether off of his SJC questionnaire & pushback from progressive groups, that all adds up to him having a rough time getting to 50 votes.


  6. Here’s a fun snapshot of Judge Calabresi (sorry if it’s paywalled for you).
    It tangentially touches on Jose Cabranes. If you think Biden is bad for nominating subpar judges solely because a Dem senator recommended them, look at Bill Clinton. His staff knew that then-district court judge Cabranes would still be conservative on the 2nd circuit, and yet they eventually went away and nominated him on the recommendation of Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who wasn’t even his home senator. (It also reminds me that Cabranes’s current seat really belongs to Connecticut.
    Cannot wait for Khan to send him into retirement.



    • I’ll give Clinton a slight pass on Calabresi. I’m sure there weren’t as many realistic Hispanic options back then as there are now. Also the filibuster & blue slips for circuit court seats were still in play so I can at least see an argument for a bad pick there.

      Now considering him for the SCOTUS is what really was crazy. To think of that makes me shiver. There’s simply no excuse for bad circuit court picks when your party has the senate majority any longer however. That’s why Biden gets more criticized when he makes a bad pick over a previous president. But I definitely feel he’s been the best despite the bad picks we have seen.


  7. Said it before and I’ll say it again.
    While I do think Hochul will face a primary challenge, NY state as a whole isn’t as blue as folks think it is.
    If anything, she has ticked off everyone so if she loses in a couple of years (as she should) I forsee it being to a centrist Schumer type Democrat, not AOC or someone in her circle.


    • That’s fine. I’ll happily take a centrist Schumer type Democrat in 2025. Just give me a competent one that knows how to count. Please make sure they also know once they have dug themselves a hole, they should put the shovel down, not jump in & keep digging. While you’re at it, get somebody that knows it snows in Buffalo.


      • Well don’t get me wrong, I absolutely hate (Once again only talking politically) governor Hochul but I don’t think Cuomo is the answer. I know I listed three things above I need in her primary challenger but I’ll add a fourth, needing to know how to keep your pants zipped up. Now if you want a comeback candidate, I would 1000% be behind Al Fraken.

        Liked by 1 person

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