Oregon State Bar Bulletin — AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2010

Sign of the Times I
As a senior judge I received a notice that the Oregon Judicial Department has now included in its legal education program for new judges a one-day class entitled “Civil Litigation: Primer on Substantive Law.” The notice indicates that this course has been added to the curriculum “…to support the many new judges who are coming to the bench with little-to-no civil experience.”

On the one hand I commend the Judicial Department for recognizing and trying to do something to deal with this problem. On the other hand I view this as is an incredibly sad comment on the current state of the judicial selection process in the state of Oregon.

Jim Hargreaves, Eugene

Sign of the Times II

Way to go, Oregon Supreme Court and Court of Appeals. The rest of the world is going green, and you are mandating the use of more paper by requiring 14-point type be used in briefs. Get reading glasses, like the rest of us, and require 10-point type — and make the limiting factor the number of pages, not words. And what is a certificate of compliance? More paper! Why require attorneys to certify what is plainly visible?

Of course, these august bodies could consider entering the 20th century, and require electronic filing of briefs in standard formats, then read the briefs on their monitors in any size type, and completely do away with paper.

Robert D. Varitz, Portland

Sign of the Times III

I want to comment on the proposition that it is judicial activism to overrule precedent and on the not-articulated (The Myth of Judicial Activism,” July 2010) but often-repeated criticism of nominees for the U.S. Supreme Court that they lack prior judicia1 experience.

The latter first. The U.S. Supreme Court is one of the few courts in the country on which justices do not even need to be lawyers, although all of them have been. Many prior justices, however, have not been judges. This is one of the reasons that Supreme Courts are not slaves to stare decisis as lower courts are.

The “separate but equal” doctrine had been upheld by the Supreme Court six times before it was overturned in Brown v. Board of Education, and contributory negligence had been the law in California for 121 years before the California Supreme Court changed the law judicially to comparative negligence in Li v. Yellow Cab. Those decisions are not examples of “judicial activism.” They are recognitions of signs of the times by forward-looking modern courts.

Peter M. Appleton, Salem

Another ADA Resource

Bravo for the recent coverage regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 in the Bulletin (“The ADA at 20,” June 2010) and recognition of the 20th anniversary of this hallmark law. Disability law is such a rich area for exploration, so we hope to see more coverage in future issues. Your efforts, along with the work of organizations such as ours, make it possible for more individuals, employers and businesses to obtain the guidance they need in order to successfully navigate under these complex laws.

The NW ADA Center is a regional resource for the comprehensive and up-to-date information regarding laws affecting individuals with disabilities, especially with regard to helping businesses and other covered entities understand their rights and responsibilities. Our regional office serves Alaska, Washington, Oregon and Idaho. We hope attorneys and firms representing individuals, business, government, construction, employers and other covered entities take advantage of the services offered by our center as a free or low-cost resource for technical assistance, training, consultation and accessibility surveys.

We have a call center with real people answering the phones Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., at (800) 949-4232. We welcome calls seeking general advice on a variety of ADA and related topics, training and survey requests, and have expert consultants available to assist with more intensive issues. We have a professional staff with over 90 years of combined experience assisting other professionals in taking the myth and bias out of disability and putting into practice the inclusions mandated in a practical manner.

For additional information and resources, including “toolkits” for businesses and employers and state and local governments, visit our website, http://dbtacnorthwest.org. We look forward to hearing from OSB members who are ready for us to help serve their clients dealing with disability-related issues.

Don Brandon, Mountlake Terrace, Wash. Director, NW ADA Center


Thanks to an eagle-eye reader, we have been alerted to an incorrect citation in “The Myth of Judicial Activism” (July 2010). There isn’t any U.S. Supreme Court case captioned Lopez v. Virginia that has drawn the ire of liberal commentators. The author intended instead to refer to United States v. Lopez (1995). Also, Landau will begin his term on the Oregon Supreme Court in 2011, not 2010 as stated. The Bulletin regrets the errors.

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