The Senate Judiciary Committee Considers Oregon Justice’s Nominee For Federal Court Opening

The nomination of Adrienne Nelson to the U.S. Circuit Court for the District of Oregon was discussed by the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

Nelson, an associate justice on the state Supreme Court, would be the first Black woman judge in Oregon to hold the position of the federal judge if she were to be confirmed.

In his opening remarks before the committee on Wednesday, Nelson said, “I would like to acknowledge the spirits of my late father, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and good friends who are not with us here on earth, but who are always with me.” “I can sense them in the room today. To please everyone is my goal.

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Nelson served as a Multnomah County Circuit Court judge for more than ten years before Gov. Kate Brown appointed her to the Oregon Supreme Court in 2018. She also served as a public defender for Multnomah Defenders Inc., one of Portland’s two nonprofit public defence organisations, and in private practice.

Nelson claimed during a committee hearing on Wednesday in Washington, D.C., that throughout her time as a judge and current justice, she had presided over hundreds of oral arguments, thousands of legal cases, and more than 300 trials.

The litigants’ case is the most important issue in the world, so I approach each case with an open mind and treat everyone fairly and impartially, Nelson told the committee. I make an effort to explain every decision so that it can be understood. And if I’m fortunate enough to get confirmed, I’d keep doing it.

The Senate was out of session on Wednesday, so the hearing was only briefly held. Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Illinois, the chair of the judiciary committee, posed a series of mostly cordial questions to the nominees.

Senate Judiciary Committee Considers Oregon Justice's Nominee
Senate Judiciary Committee Considers Oregon Justice’s Nominee

Nelson, 55, was proposed by President Joe Biden in July. Durbin informed the panel that it was conceivable for the full Senate to consider and vote on candidates by the beginning of December.

If confirmed, Nelson will replace Judge Michael Mosman on the district court bench. Mosman retired last year and moved into senior status, a type of semi-retirement where judges still hear cases but have less work to do.

Nelson was introduced by Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, who asked the committee to approve her candidacy to the court, which would be a lifetime appointment.

Wyden told his Senate colleagues, “She’s very accomplished and a decorated lawyer,” noting that her supporters include current colleagues on the Oregon Supreme Court, business and nonprofit leaders, law enforcement, and prosecutors.

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“These letters of support paint a picture of Justice Nelson as a diligent worker, a model of humility, and a jurist dedicated to equity and justice for all. So, in our opinion, there is no dispute about her exceptional qualifications. She would be a great federal judge.

Before Brown’s term ends at the end of the year, if Nelson were to be confirmed before then, Brown would have another person to appoint to the Oregon Supreme Court. Five of Oregon’s seven Supreme Court justices have been appointed by Brown while she has been in office. Even though his tenure ends in 2027, associate Justice Thomas Balmer revealed last week that he would be retiring at the end of December.

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