Nineteen qualified candidates for one judge seat. Time to speak up.

By Ben Miller of Eugene, Oregon. Ben is a student at the University of Oregon Law School and describes himself as "a wannabe policy wonk." He disclaims: "My views are my own and do not necessarily represent any of my current or previous employers."

While most of the focus of late has been on the executive or legislative branches of our state government, an important process is occurring in the judicial branch as well.

Following the election of Judge Virginia Linder to the Oregon Supreme Court, the Governor has a vacancy on the Oregon Court of Appeals for which he will appoint a replacement.

Considering that incumbent judges, barring some major malfeasance, go unchallenged in most judicial elections, now is the opportunity for citizens of the state to tell the Governor’s office what sort of qualities they would like to see in an appellate judge. We recently considered a part of this question when ballot measure 40 was before Oregon voters.

The 19 candidates for the vacancy can be found at the Oregon State Bar website. They include a diverse array of attorneys from the private and public sectors. They are:

James (Jas) Adams, John A. Berge, Roderick A. Boutin, Steven Briggs, Stephen Bushong, Joel DeVore, George M. Galloway, Judith Giers, Erika Hadlock, Martha (Chris) Helmer, Rodger Isaacson, Mustafa Kasubhai, David E. Leith, Margaret Leek Lieberan, Janet A. Metcalf, Julene M. Quinn, Timothy Sercombe, William K. Uhle, Michael C. Zusman

You can begin to find out more about each candidate through a simple Google search or by looking them up in the Oregon State Bar directory.

The Board of Governors for the Oregon State Bar has conducted an in-depth review of each application and candidate and has recommended the entire list of 19 candidates to the Governor. Interviews will be held the week of February 15th. Now is the time to comment on the qualifications of any candidate, the needs of the court, the needs of the community, and the needs of the particular bench. Contact the Governor’s General Counsel, David Reese, to make sure your voice is heard.

Judicial offices are nonpartisan. In theory, judges do nothing more than provide an even-handed application of the law. However, the reality is that the lifetime experiences of the individual appointed to the bench matter a great deal. You may not have heard much about the nomination process of late, but the system ensures that this is essentially your only opportunity to comment on who your next Court of Appeals judge will be.

Write: Governor's Office (Attn: David Reese), 900 Court St. NE #160, Salem OR 97301. E-mail: Cassie Tarr ([email protected]) Executive Assistant to Governor’s General Counsel. Call: 503-378-6246. Fax: 503-378-6827

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