Judge Milan Smith, Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals

Judge Milan Smith

Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals

Milan Dale Smith, Jr. was born in July 1942 in Pendleton, Oregon. He earned an undergraduate degree from Brigham Young University and attended The University of Chicago Law School on a full-tuition scholarship, graduating with a Juris Doctor. He entered private practice.

Smith served as President-General Counsel of the Los Angeles State Building Authority and later as Vice Chairman of the California Fair Employment and Housing Commission.

He was nominated by President George W. Bush to the bench of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. He was confirmed in a 93-0 vote of the Senate and assumed his position in May 2006.

In the News…

A Washington state school district did not violate the religious and free speech rights of a high school football coach by forbidding him from kneeling in prayer at the 50-yard line after games, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.

The Bremerton school district would have violated the First Amendment’s ban on government establishment of religion by letting the coach pray in view of spectators,  and with students who might feel pressured to join him.

In a unanimous decision of the three-judge panel written by Judge Milan Smith, the coach’s claim he was engaging in “private” prayer citing his efforts to draw local and national support was rejected by the court.

“Although there are numerous close cases chronicled in the Supreme Court’s and our current Establishment Clause case law, this case is not one of them,” Judge Milan Smith wrote. The court’s decision upheld a March 2020 dismissal by a District Court in Tacoma, Washington. In 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the coach’s appeal from the Ninth Circuit’s earlier rejection of an injunction allowing him to pray.

It was unclear whether the case will be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Contact this Leader…

Did you pray for Judge Smith today? You can let him know at:

The Honorable Milan Smith
Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals
William K. Nakamura Courthouse
1010 Fifth Avenue
Seattle, WA 98104


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