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Thomas Rex Lee

Thomas Rex Lee


Thomas Rex Lee

Thomas Rex Lee is a justice on the Utah Supreme Court. He received his bachelor's degree from Brigham Young University in 1988 and graduated with a law degree from the University of Chicago in 1991. Following his graduation, he began his legal career by serving as a law clerk in the Fourth Circuit Appellate Court in Richmond, Virginia.


After ending his clerkship, Thomas Rex Lee joined the Salt Lake City based law firm of Parr, Waddoups, Brown, Gee & Loveless, where he acted as a private lawyer from 1992 to 1997. During this time, he also served as a clerk for Supreme Court Judge Clarence Thomas from 1994 to 1995. In 1997, Thomas Rex Lee left private practice with Parr, Waddoups, Brown, Gee & Loveless to teach law at Brigham Young University. He also became a part-time associate with the firm of Howard, Phillips & Andersen. From 2004 to 2005, he also served as a deputy assistant attorney general for the civil division of the United States Justice Department.


As a private attorney and legal scholar, Thomas Rex Lee specializes in issues of copyright and trademark infringement. One of his most prominent cases came in 2002. Thomas Rex Lee represented the state of Utah in the case of Utah v. Evans. The Supreme Court case concerned methods used by the Census Bureau when conducting the 2000 census. The organization used a method known as "hot-deck imputation" in order to fill in information that could not be obtained. "Hot-deck imputation" means that when an address or unit owner cannot be located, the Census Bureau assigns it the same population numbers and characteristics that have been recorded in the nearest property for which data has been collected.


Hot-deck imputation was used in both the state of Utah and that of North Carolina. As a result, the recorded population of North Carolina increased by 0.4%, leading to being granted one more representative in the Congressional House of Representatives. However, when the same methods were applied in Utah, the population increase recorded was only 0.2%.


Thomas Rex Lee represented the argument of the state of Utah, which contended that this hot-deck method violated both the census code's prohibition against using sampling methods to determine populations and violated a similar prohibition in the United States Constitution. Thomas Rex Lee appeared before the Supreme Court in 2002. The case was ultimately decided against the state of Utah on both charges with a five to four verdict.


In 2010, Thomas Rex Lee became a justice of the Utah Supreme Court. Despite never having served as a judge before, he was chosen by Governor Gary Herbert on the basis of his academic and professional credentials. During his time as a state justice, Thomas Rex Lee has written a number of opinions representing the majority opinion of the court. In addition, he has frequently filed separate opinions both concurring and dissenting with the majority opinion of the court.