Judges Linder, Haselton to leave state's top courts
Two appellate judges announced Thursday they will retire at the end of the year, allowing Gov. Kate Brown to appoint successors before the 2016 general election.
Virginia Linder of Salem will step down after nine years as a justice on the Oregon Supreme Court. She was the first woman, in 2006, to win direct election to the court, succeeding Wallace Carson. The other four women were appointed first.
Rick Haselton of Portland will step down after a record 21 years, 10 months, as a judge on the Court of Appeals. He was appointed in March 1994, and since 2012, has been chief judge of what is now a 13-member court.
Chief Justice Tom Balmer said in a statement:
Gini Linder showed great courage in running for an open seat on the Supreme Court in a contested election. Her incisive intellect and deep understanding of public law issues have made her an invaluable colleague.
Rick Haselton brought a brilliant legal mind and a clear, engaging writing style in his private law practice and then to the Court of Appeals, where he has been an outstanding leader.
They both have dedicated their careers to serving the people of Oregon. I will miss them.
Under Oregon law, Brown will appoint successors to serve through the November 2016 election, when they would be up for full six-year terms.
Balmer will appoint a new chief judge for the Court of Appeals, which is one of the nations busiest intermediate-level state courts.
Both Linder and Haselton will be senior judges and hear cases on an as-needed basis.
Linder has spent her entire career in public law, after earning her bachelors degree in 1975 from Southern Oregon University and her law degree in 1980 from Willamette University.
She was hired by the Oregon Department of Justice, where she rose to become solicitor general – the official who represents Oregon in state and federal appellate courts – by appointment of then-Attorney General Dave Frohnmayer in 1986. She was the first woman in that position.
In 1994, she was the first woman to represent Oregon in an oral argument in the U.S. Supreme Court. She won the case, Oregon Department of Revenue v. ACF Industries, on an 8-1 vote.
A decade later in 1997, Linder was appointed as a judge of the Court of Appeals.
She was one of three candidates who sought the Supreme Court position vacated by Wallace Carson, who chose to let voters pick his successor at the end of his term in 2006. She won a runoff against Jack Roberts, a former two-term state labor commissioner and a 2002 GOP candidate for governor, who is now director of the Oregon Lottery.
Linders sexual orientation – she lives with her partner in Salem -- was not a campaign issue.
It is hard to leave the court, Linder said in a statement. I serve with wonderful colleagues, I love the work, and the work is profoundly important. But after more than 35 years of public service, it is time for me to move on to the next chapter of my life.
Gov. Brown said this in a statement:
Oregon has been the fortunate beneficiary of Justice Linders decision to dedicate her entire 35-year career to public legal services and the public good... A brilliant lawyer and committed public servant, Justice Linder is the living embodiment our state motto, 'She flies with her own wings.'
The other woman on the seven-member court is Martha Walters, appointed by Gov. Ted Kulongoski in 2006.
Haselton took a different path to the appellate courts after he earned his bachelors degree in 1976 from Stanford University and his law degree in 1979 from Yale University, where he was a classmate of Sonia Sotomayor, now a U.S. Supreme Court justice.
Haselton was a clerk for Sid Lezak, then U.S. attorney for Oregon, and for Alfred Goodwin, then a judge of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and a former Oregon judge.
He then was in private practice for two law firms in Portland before his appointment by Gov. Barbara Roberts to the Court of Appeals in March 1994. He became its chief judge in 2012.
At 21 years and 10 months by his retirement date, he will surpass Walt Edmonds Jr. for the longest tenure on the appeals court by 10 months.
Gov. Brown said in her statement:
Beyond his official role, he has been highly engaged with the activities of the Oregon State Bar and led volunteer efforts to ensure access to justice for low-income Oregonians. Chief Judge Haselton has been an outstanding contributor to the well-being of our state and our justice system.
He is married to Sura Rubenstein. They have a daughter, Malia Haselton, who is a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps.
He thanked them and said, Serving on the Oregon Court of Appeals has been a daily privilege and blessing, and has been the culmination of m lifelong dream to serve Oregonians.