Constantinos Himonas: The First Greek-American in Utah Supreme Court

himonas

The state of Utah unanimously confirmed on Friday Constantinos Himonas to the Supreme Court. With 27 votes to 0 Himonas becomes the first Greek-American on the state’s Supreme Court, as well as the only non-Mormon (he is a Greek Orthodox) currently serving at that post.

Himonas, who has served as a judge in the 3rd Distrcit Court for about 10 years and replaced retiring Justice Ronald Nehring, told the Senate after his confirmation that its gallery was full of members of his family, characterizing at as his “truly Big Fat Greek Confirmation proceeding.”

“I am deeply, deeply committed to a textual approach to legislation that comes out of this body and the House, and an originalist approach to both the constitution of this state and the Constitution of the United States. Those are the twin pillars of my jurisprudence. And I commit to you to remember them throughout the time that I serve as a justice,” he said addressing the Senate.

On his behalf, Senator Scott Jenkins said senators found the judge during confirmation hearings “to be a wonderful, delightful individual who embodies the kind of principles that we believe a Supreme Court justice should.” Similarly, Senator Todd Weiler revealed he has appeared before Himonas in court, describing that he “always found him to be fair and intelligent with an excellent judicial demeanor. He is very well respected by his colleagues.” Senator Jim Dabakis, who is of Greek descent, also applauded Himonas as “the first Greek-American to serve on the Utah Supreme Court.”

“In that capacity, something I have always tried to remember is that the cases we hear as judges represent either the most important thing going on in the lives of the people in front of us, or one of the most important things. Consequently, I have endeavored to give those cases the full measure of my abilities. And, if confirmed, I commit to this degree of dedication–certainly one the people deserve,” Himonas said at the time of his appointment.

Himonas graduated Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Utah in 1986 and received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Chicago in 1989. He is currently a fellow of the American Bar Foundation, a member of the Judicial Conduct Commission and co-chair of the 3rd District Court Pro Bono Commission. He previously served as the chair of the executive committee of Utah State Bar’s litigation section, a member of the Federal Bar Association Executive Committee, a member of the Salt Lake Bar Association Executive Committee and a member of the Utah Supreme Court Advisory Committee on Judicial Canons.