With only days left in her term before leaving office, Gov. Kate Brown announced five appointments to fill judicial vacancies, including two appointments to the Oregon Supreme Court.
During her time in office, Brown has appointed 112 judges, including eight appointments to the Oregon Supreme Court — more than any other Oregon governor.
With the new appointments and retirements of Justice Thomas Balmer and Chief Justice Martha Walters, Brown will have appointed the entirety of the Oregon Supreme Court bench.
Brown said her appointments over the years have represented a diversity of backgrounds and life experiences.
Those appointments include:
- 56 judges who are women, 55 who are men, and one who is non-binary
- 27 judges who are people of color
- Two judges who are Native American
- Eight judges who openly identify as LGBTQ+
“Throughout my time as Governor, I have sought to appoint highly-qualified individuals with deep connections to their communities, extensive courtroom experience, and professional and lived experiences that are representative of all of Oregon,” Brown said. “The people I am appointing today, including to our highest courts, represent the best of those qualities, and I am grateful they are willing to answer the call to service.”
All the appointments are effective Jan. 1.
Stephen Bushong, a judge on the Multnomah County Circuit Court since 2008, will fill the Supreme Court vacancy created by the planned retirement of Balmer.
Bushong has served as Multnomah County’s presiding judge and its chief civil judge, and previously litigated civil cases as an attorney at the Miller Nash law firm and as chief trial counsel and attorney-in-charge of the Special Litigation Unit at the Oregon Department of Justice.
He received his bachelor’s degree and his law degree from the University of Michigan. Bushong also serves on the Oregon Law Commission and the Uniform Trial Court Rules Committee and coaches Franklin High School’s “We the People” team.
Brown appointed Bronson James, a judge on the Court of Appeals since 2017, to the Supreme Court vacancy created by the planned retirement of Walters.
James previously served as a trial judge on the Multnomah County Circuit Court.
Prior to his judicial service, he practiced as an appellate public defender in the Oregon Office of Public Defense Services and represented injured plaintiffs and criminal defendants at his own firm.
James is a graduate of Reed College and Lewis & Clark Law School. In addition to his time on the bench, he serves on Oregon’s Ad Hoc Committee on Unconscious Bias and the Judicial Leadership and Education Committee, and coaches mock trial through the Classroom Law Project.
Megan Jacquot, a judge on the Coos and Curry County Circuit Courts since 2016, will fill the Oregon Court of Appeals vacancy created by James’s elevation to the Supreme Court.
A lifelong Oregonian who grew up in Klamath Falls, Jacquot practiced as a juvenile defense attorney and appellate attorney in Coos Bay before taking the bench.
She is a graduate of Pacific Lutheran University and Tulane University Law School.
An enrolled member of the Chocktaw Nation, Jacquot will be the first tribal member to serve on an appellate court in Oregon and, as a Coos County resident, she also will be the only sitting Court of Appeals judge from outside of the Willamette Valley.
Jacquot currently serves on the Governor’s Foster Care Advisory Commission, and previously served as a part-time municipal judge in Reedsport and a member of the North Bend School Board.
Bryan Francesconi, a public defender, will fill the Multnomah County Circuit Court vacancy created by the planned retirement of Judge Eric Bloch. Rima Ghandour is a civil litigator and will fill the Multnomah County Circuit Court vacancy created by Judge Bushong’s elevation to the Supreme Court. Reporter Whitney Woodworth covers city hall, economic development and business for the Statesman Journal. For questions, comments and news tips, email firstname.lastname@example.org, call 503-910-6616 or follow on Twitter @wmwoodworth.