The Oregon Supreme Court race has broken a campaign fundraising record as three candidates strive to fill a vacancy. Nearly a million dollars has been raised with Jack Roberts leading the pack. The importance of the Supreme Court vacancy cannot be overstated.
Justice Wallace Carson (who before he went to the bench was a Republican state senator from Salem) announced last year that he wouldn’t run for reelection this year but that he also wouldn’t follow the typical pattern of resigning early so that the governor to appoint his replacement. Instead, Justice Carson is letting the people elect his replacement. Jack Roberts would easily be the most fiscally conservative member of the Oregon Supreme Court if elected.
Roberts been endorsed by Crime Victims United, Taxpayers Association of Oregon, and by Clatsop County District Attorney Josh Marquis. Compare those endorsements to the other Supreme Court contenders Virginia Linder and Gene Hallman. Linder is endorsed by Judge Merton James and Judge Lipscomb the dynamic duo that revoked both property rights Measures 7 & 37 (and revoked these measures using the most contorted legal reasoning imaginable). Candidate Hallman is former president of the Oregon Trail Lawyers Association — enough said.
Roberts would be the only person on the court with a business law background (the others are either from the state attorney general’s office or were plaintiff and union lawyers). Jack has also been a vocal defender of the initiative system and has a strong reputation for fairness. For example, in 2004 he was chosen by both supporters and opponents of Measure 37 to be the neutral party on the committee preparing the voter’s pamphlet explanation for that initiative. Having a justice who actually understands the initiative process from personal experience would be a huge advancement.