Lodge, Edward J.

In 1963, Judge Edward J. Lodge began his distinguished judicial career and is now one of Idaho's longest serving judges when his state and federal judicial service is combined. Judge Lodge was sworn in as a licensed attorney in 1962. He began his public service as a judge when he was selected to serve as a Probate Judge in 1963. Two years later, he was appointed by the Governor as the youngest state District Court Judge in Idaho. He served as District and Administrative Judge for the Third Judicial District of Idaho for nearly 23 years. In January of 1988, he was chosen to be a United States Bankruptcy Judge for the District of Idaho.

In 1989, he was nominated by President George H. Bush to serve as a United States District Judge for the District of Idaho. During his confirmation proceedings before the United States Senate, Senator McClure said "Certainly, there never has been before this committee a more-qualified or better-prepared candidate for nomination and confirmation as a United States District Judge." With the unanimous consent of the Senate, Judge Lodge's nomination was confirmed and he began his tenure as a United States District Judge on December 1, 1989.

Born in Caldwell, Idaho, Lodge spent summers working on his family's ranch as a "buckaroo." During the school year he participated in athletics. After graduation from Caldwell High School, he attended Notre Dame, but longed to return to the West he loved so much. He attended Boise Junior College and graduated from the College of Idaho, Cum Laude. He earned his Juris Doctorate from the University of Idaho Law School.

Lodge is a three-time All American in football (High School, Boise Junior College and College of Idaho). He is also a former Golden Gloves Champion and excelled in track events. Lodge is a member of the Boise State Athletic Hall of Fame and the College of Idaho Hall of Fame. He is a Distinguished Alumni of Caldwell High School, Boise State University and the College of Idaho. He is also a lifetime member of the Boise State BAA.

Judge Lodge has had a distinguished legal career. He is the only judge in Idaho to have presided over two first degree murder trials at the same time (two juries in the same courtroom). He is believed to have presided over more murder trials than any other judge in Idaho. He was the judge for the Claude Dallas trial and the Randy Weaver trial. He is a former president of the Idaho Judges Association.

Judge Lodge served as the Chief Judge for the District of Idaho from 1992 -1999. He was selected to serve on the Ninth Circuit Judicial Council and was elected as Chair of the Conference of Chief District Judges. While Judge Lodge continues to serve as an active District Judge, he has already left a lasting legacy for the District of Idaho. During his term as Chief Judge, the District underwent major changes and boasted many achievements. His leadership was instrumental in any significant accomplishment within the District of Idaho. Some of these are listed below:

  • Completion of the Criminal Advisory Report for expense and delay reduction, chaired by Chief Judge Lodge.
  • Completion of the Civil Justice Reform Act for expense and delay reduction.
  • Support and leadership for the Gender Fairness Committee. Consolidation of court services between the District and Bankruptcy Courts which resulted in permanent cost savings.
  • Initiation of the State/Federal Judicial Council for sharing resources and policies between the Supreme Court and the Federal Court.
  • Initiation of the highly regarded District Conference, a continuing education program for Judges and Lawyers.
  • Initiation of ADR programs and the expanded use of Magistrate Judges in resolving civil proceedings.
  • Support and leadership of numerous automation initiatives such as imaging, creation of the Internet/Intranet, video conferencing, and evidence presentation equipment.
  • Completion of the Long Range Plan for the District of Idaho.
  • Oversight and leadership over major construction projects in Boise, Coeur d'Alene and Pocatello.

In regard to Judge Lodge's leadership, Chief Judge Winmill said "the high regard in which he is held by his peers is reflected by his selection as chair of the Chief Judges Conference for the Ninth Circuit." Chief Magistrate Judge Williams noted, "the people of the State of Idaho owe a deep debt of gratitude to Judge Lodge for his many years of unselfish public service." Chief Bankruptcy Judge Jim D. Pappas said, "In sum, the Court is a better place because of Judge Lodge's outstanding leadership."

Judge Lodge presided over arguably two of the largest cases in District of Idaho when he tackled the United States vs. Randy Weaver criminal case and the Coeur d'Alene Basin Superfund clean-up case, United States v. Asarco, et al. Despite the national media requests and pressure from attorneys who vigorously fought for the best legal position, Judge Lodge managed the trials efficiently and maintained expert control throughout the proceedings. His work on these cases has become a model for handling complex, high profile trials.

Judge Lodge continues to be widely respected by judges, the bar and the litigants who come before him. His State Bar ratings continue to be among the state's highest. Whether a case is large or small, Judge Lodge is widely known for taking extra time to assure litigants receive a fair trial. Judge Lodge once said, "you have to be willing to give people their day in court and to understand that this is usually the most important thing in their life, whether it's a big case or a small case, and treat it as such."

Judge Lodge has received numerous awards and recognitions for his service to the judiciary and the state, including:

  • Being voted one of the state's best judges
  • First Trial Judge to be awarded the Kramer Award for Excellence in Judicial Administration
  • Receiving the Idaho State Bar's Professionalism Award in 1997
  • Recipient of the University of Idaho's "Idaho Award of Legal Merit" in 2000
  • In 2002, Judge Lodge was inducted into the Idaho Hall of Fame Association for his outstanding achievements in the Judiciary.
  • He received the Distinguished Lawyer Award in 2002 which is the highest award given by the Idaho State Bar Association for lifetime achievement by a lawyer who has distinguished the profession through exemplary conduct, unwavering commitment to the high ideals and years of dedicated service to the profession and citizens of Idaho.
  • Recipient of the College of Idaho's Life Achievement Award from the Half Century Society for outstanding professional accomplishments and service to the community in 2007.

Judge Lodge's extensive judicial experience and dedication to the rule of law continues to benefit the District of Idaho as well as all the lawyers and litigants that appear before him.