Oregon’s high-profile position of governor is up for applications, and yours, Tina Kotek, am taking them. Justice Adrienne Nelson resigned from her post at the court, and Kotek announced on Wednesday, April 4, 2023, that she is accepting applicants to fill the resulting vacancy.
In February, the U.S. Senate officially approved Nelson for a seat on the U.S. District Court in Oregon, making him the first Black judge on the state’s highest court. This is one of Kotek’s first significant appointments as governor and involves the judiciary.
While Kotek said that applications are being welcomed from attorneys with a broad range of backgrounds and skills, she did not specify what the governor is seeking in applicants. Each of Oregon’s seven state supreme court justices must be a U.S. citizen and a resident of Oregon for at least three years before being confirmed as a justice.
In February, Kotek’s office still wouldn’t say when he planned to choose a successor. After the April 27 application deadline, the governor’s office spokespeople again ignored Wednesday’s inquiries regarding the selection process.
According to information acquired by the Capital Chronicle via a public records request, the Oregon State Bar recommends applicants and lawyers may also apply on their own. The Governor’s Office screens applicants and checks their backgrounds; on February 17, Andrea Cooper, the governor’s chief of staff, received an email from Richard Lane, general counsel for Kotek’s office.
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Lane commented, “Depending on how many applications are received, we do an internal cut and schedule interviews.”
He estimated that the whole process would take 60–90 days, ultimately resulting in two or three candidates meeting with the governor. Who will conduct the preliminary interviews is not made clear.
Lane continued by saying that “the court can operate one justice down” or that a retired judge may step in.
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