Oregon Judicial Vacancies
OREGON CIRCUIT COURTS
On May 31, 2017, Governor Brown announced she was accepting applications for a judicial vacancy on the Coos/Curry County Circuit Court created by the retirement of Judge Richard Barron. Application has closed and five candidates have submitted information for this appointment. Details available here.
On June 9, 2017, Governor Brown announced she was accepting applications for a pending judicial vacancy on the Linn County Circuit Court created by the planned retirement of Judge Carol Bispham Hashagen. Application has closed and eleven candidates have submitted information for this appointment. Details available here.
On May 16, 2017, Governor Brown announced she was accepting applications for the judicial position on the Multnomah County Circuit Court created by the retirement of Judge Diana Stuart. Application has closed and twenty-one candidates have submitted information for this appointment. Details available here.
On July 5, 2017, Governor Brown announced she was accepting applications for the judicial position on the Washington County Circuit Court created by the planned retirement of Judge Suzanne Upton. Details available here.
Governor Brown Appoints Judges to Oregon Court of Appeals,
Multnomah County Circuit Court and Clackamas County Circuit Court
(Salem, OR) — Governor Kate Brown today announced eight appointments to fill judicial vacancies on Oregon’s courts. These appointments are effective July 17, 2017.
The Oregon Court of Appeals presently has three vacancies, created by the elevations of Justice Meagan A. Flynn and Justice Rebecca A. Duncan to the Oregon Supreme Court, and by the retirement of Judge Timothy J. Sercombe. To these vacant positions Governor Brown appoints Robyn E. Ridler Aoyagi (Position 4), Judge Bronson James (Position 2), and Steven R. Powers (Position 7).
The Clackamas County Circuit Court presently has two vacancies, created by the retirements of Judge Deanne L. Darling and Judge Eve L. Miller. To these vacant positions Governor Brown appoints Ulanda L. Watkins (Position 9) and Representative Ann Lininger (Position 2).
The Multnomah County Circuit Court presently has three vacancies, created by the retirements of Judge Henry Kantor and Judge Julie E. Franz, and by the elevation of Judge Bronson James to the Oregon Court of Appeals. To these vacant positions Governor Brown appoints Katharine von Ter Stegge (Position 10), Christopher A. Ramras (Position 15), and Benjamin N. Souede (Position 30).
“Oregonians will be rightly proud to welcome this group of exceedingly talented and diverse lawyers into judicial service,” Governor Brown said. “These appointments draw from every corner of the legal profession: prosecutors and defenders of the accused, advocates for injured persons, civil defense attorneys, government lawyers, and even a state representative. This group entrusts some of Oregon’s finest lawyers with the fair and impartial administration of justice in our state.”
Reflecting on the retirements of Judges Sercombe, Darling, Miller, Kantor, and Frantz, Governor Brown said: “For decades, these five judges have kept the wheels of justice rolling forward. They have worked tirelessly to ensure that every litigant who came before them was afforded the full and equal protection of our laws. Our state owes a deep debt of gratitude to these fine public servants.”
Court of Appeals
Robyn E. Ridler Aoyagi is a trial and appellate litigator at the Tonkon Torp law firm, where she has worked since 2000. She began her legal career as a law clerk on the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. She is a graduate of Tufts University and Harvard Law School. She is a member of the board of directors of Portland Story Theater and recently chaired a project on e-briefing for the American Bar Association Council of Appellate Lawyers, of which she is an executive board member. She also is past chair of the Oregon State Bar Appellate Practice Section Executive Committee.
Bronson James is a judge on the Multnomah County Circuit Court. Before his appointment to the bench in February 2016, he represented injured plaintiffs and criminal defendants at his own firm. Before going into private practice, Judge James worked as an appellate public defender from 2005 to 2010, and at the company iPSpecialties, LLC, as its general counsel. He is a graduate of Reed College and Lewis and Clark Law School. In addition to his professional committee work, he organizes a group that cooks monthly dinners for the homeless at Transitions Projects NW.
Steven R. Powers is an insurance coverage and appellate lawyer at the law firm Parsons Farnell & Grein, LLP, where he has worked since 2015. From 2011 to 2015, Mr. Powers was deputy general counsel and public safety policy advisor in the Office of the Governor. Mr. Powers earlier served as a Deputy District Attorney for Multnomah County, an appellate attorney at the Oregon Department of Justice, and as Chairperson of the Oregon Board of Parole and Post-Prison Supervision. Mr. Powers began his career as a petitions law clerk at the Oregon Supreme Court. He is a graduate of Western State College of Colorado and Willamette University College of Law. He is a founding board member of the Oregon Filipino American Lawyers Association.
Clackamas County Circuit Court
Ulanda L. Watkins is a managing attorney at the insurance company GEICO, where she has worked since 2011. From 1996 to 2011, she was a criminal defense attorney at the law firm Walker, Warren and Watkins, where she rose to partner. She is a graduate of Oregon State University and Lewis and Clark Law School. She is a board member of the Multnomah County Bar Association, a member of the Oregon State Bar’s Region 5 Disciplinary Board, and a volunteer mediator in the Fee Dispute Resolution Program. Ms. Watkins will be the only person of color actively serving on the Clackamas County bench and the third African American woman judge ever to serve on the state court bench.
Ann Lininger is a state representative from Lake Oswego and an attorney with the Metropolitan Public Defender. Lininger previously worked as an business attorney at Buckley Law and as general counsel at Oregon Iron Works. She has served as a Clackamas County Commissioner, co-director at the Community Development Law Center, and as director of program-related investing at the Meyer Memorial Trust. Lininger clerked for judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit and the U.S. District Court. Lininger is is a graduate of Yale University and New York University School of Law.
Multnomah County Circuit Court
Katharine von Ter Stegge is an attorney in the Multnomah County Attorney’s Office, where she has worked since 2010. She previously worked as a trial attorney at the Oregon Department of Justice and as a prosecutor in the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office. She began her career as a law clerk for a federal judge in West Virginia. She is a graduate of the University of Virginia and the University of Virginia School of Law. She is a member of the Oregon State Bar’s Board of Governors and is president of Queen’s Bench, the Portland-area chapter of Oregon Women Lawyers. She is a citizen-member of the Independent Police Review Board for the City of Portland and is a volunteer lawyer for the Oregon Crime Victim Law Center.
Christopher A. Ramras is a senior deputy district attorney in Multnomah County, where he has worked since 2002. He previously worked, briefly, at the law firm Smith, Freed and Eberhard. From 1996 to 2001, Mr. Ramras was a JAG Officer in the United States Air Force, serving as both a military prosecutor and defense attorney. He is a graduate of University of California San Diego and Willamette University College of Law. Mr. Ramras is a member of the Alliance for Safer Communities and the Multnomah County Sexual Assault Response Team. He is also co-captain of a recreational soccer club.
Benjamin N. Souede is general counsel in the Office of the Governor, where he has served for the entirety of the Brown Administration. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and of Harvard Law School, where he served as Supreme Court Editor of the Harvard Law Review. He began his legal career as a law clerk to Judge Susan P. Graber on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. He then moved to Washington, D.C. to serve as Senior Advisor to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. He began his private legal practice at the DC-based litigation firm Williams & Connolly LLP. Upon returning to Portland, he joined Lane Powell PC, and then became a founding attorney of the Angeli Law Group LLC.
Governor’s Office General Counsel
Misha Isaak will succeed Ben Souede as general counsel in the Office of the Governor. Mr. Isaak is currently deputy general counsel. Biographical information about Mr. Isaak is available online.
Circuit Courts - Recent Vacancies
Coos/Curry County Circuit Court Vacancy
The following candidates have submitted materials to the Governor’s Office for the Coos/Curry County Circuit Court vacancy. Comments on any of the candidates can be made to General Counsel at Governor Kate Brown’s Office, Ben Souede, (503) 378-8636, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Linn County Circuit Court Vacancy
The following candidates have submitted materials to the Governor’s Office for the Linn County Circuit Court vacancy. Comments on any of the candidates can be made to General Counsel at Governor Kate Brown’s Office, Ben Souede, (503) 378-8636, or email@example.com.
Kittson MaQatish, Rachel
Roe, Ruth Victoria
Multnomah County Circuit Court Vacancy
The following candidates have submitted materials to the Governor’s Office for the Multnomah County Circuit Court vacancy. Comments on any of the candidates can be made to General Counsel at Governor Kate Brown’s Office, Ben Souede, (503) 378-8636, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Van Rysselberhge, Todd
Washington County Circuit Court Vacancy
(Salem, OR) — Governor Kate Brown announced today that she is accepting applications for a judicial vacancy on the Washington County Circuit Court created by the planned retirement of Judge Suzanne Upton. Governor Brown thanked Judge Upton for her dedicated judicial service, and announced that she will fill the position by appointment. Judge Upton’s retirement takes effect June 30, 2017.
Interested applicants should mail or deliver their completed application forms to: Benjamin Souede, General Counsel, Office of the Governor, 900 Court Street NE, Ste. 160, Salem, OR 97301-4047. Forms must be received by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, July 25, 2017. Forms emailed by 5 p.m. on the closing date will be considered timely so long as original signed forms postmarked by the closing date are later received. Please note that the judicial interest form has been updated.
Governor Brown fills judicial vacancies based on merit. She encourages applications from lawyers with a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences.
ORS 3.041 and 3.050 provide that at the time of appointment to the court, the candidate must be a citizen of the United States, a resident of Oregon, and a member of the Oregon State Bar. ORS 3.041(2) further provides: “[e]ach judge of the circuit court shall be a resident of or have a principal office in the judicial district for which the judge is elected or appointed, except that in any judicial district having a population of 500,000 or more, according to the latest federal decennial census, any judge of the circuit court may reside within 10 miles of the boundary of the judicial district.” Washington County has a population in excess of 500,000. ORS 3.041(5) provides the required length of time for the residency requirements.
To receive answers to questions about the appointment process, or to request an interest form, contact Shevaun Gutridge at 503-378-6246. Email email@example.com
The Judicial Interest Form is also available online.