Views from the Bench

Publication year2023
CitationVol. 36 No. 4 Pg. 14
Views from the Bench
Vol. 36 No. 4 Pg. 14
Utah Bar Journal
August, 2023

Views from the Bench

Procedural Fairness

by The Honorable E. Blaine Rawson

Turning off Idaho's Highway 20 onto Highway 33, shortly after Sugar City, Idaho, you have a wonderful view of the Upper Snake River Valley with the Grand Tetons looming in the distance. You pass through patchwork farmlands, then across the Teton River bridge, before arriving in Teton City, Idaho. A green sign at the end of town announces a population of slightly over 700 (a population boom since the sign announcing a population of 560ish from my youth). My hometown. The place I spent the first nineteen formative years of my life.

For many years, I have hoped that I would get the chance to serve as a judge someday. However, given my background, I was not sure it would work out for me.


My upbringing was very humble. I was adopted as a newborn by a very young couple from south-eastern Idaho. Generally, college degrees and professional jobs were not found among Teton's hard working, blue-collar residents. Teton was a town of farmers, truck drivers, and tradespeople.

And my parents fit right in. Neither of my parents graduated from high school, nor had any of my grandparents. As a result of my parents' lack of formal education, job opportunities were limited and low paying. During the earlier part of my childhood, my father worked on a masonry crew as a hod carrier until the company struggled during the recession in the 1980s. He was then unemployed for some time, and then went to work at the potato processing facility where my mom worked. To assist with the family finances, my mom began working in the late 1970s at a potato processing facility on rotating shifts. Despite raising six kids and already working a full-time job, she later took a second job at McDonald's (working the drive-thru) when my family needed more money. Mom worked both jobs until she passed away about ten years ago. My siblings and I worked on farms and ranches, babysat neighbors' children, mowed lawns, worked odd jobs, sold nightcrawlers to fishermen, and did whatever was necessary to earn money for ourselves and to help the family get by.

My parents were loving parents who tried to do their best for their children. Nonetheless, there were many challenging times growing up. Like many kids, I looked longingly towards those who had more and seemed to live better. Looking back, however, I am grateful for...

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