Former Portland State University Official Named to the Oregon Supreme Court

Adrienne C. Nelson has been appointed by Governor Kate Brown to a seat on the Oregon Supreme Court. She is the first African American to serve on an appellate court in the state of Oregon.

In making the appointment, Governor Brown said that Judge Nelson “has made extraordinary strides to make the trial bench more receptive to needs and experiences of diverse and underserved communities in our state. Judge Nelson is a widely respected civil rights champion, whose perspective on the bench moves us closer to our shared vision of justice for all.”

A trial judge in Multnomah County, Oregon, Judge Nelson previously served as a senior attorney and coordinator of student legal and mediation services at Portland State University.

A native of Arkansas, Nelson’s mother sued the school district in Gurdon, Arkansas, because it did not permit an African American to be named valedictorian of the high school. Adrienne Nelson was eventually able to secure the honor that was rightfully hers. She went on to earn a bachelor’s degree at the University of Arkansas and a juris doctorate from the University of Texas.

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  1. Bully for her. My first thought when I read that she had to fight to be recognized as the valedictorian of her high school was that she was much older. she’s done some great pre-work in the community to support her accession to the high court. Congratulations.

  2. Terrific appointment. Judge Nelson’s historic appointment to the high court and her compelling story are inspirations to so many. When hard work and preparation meet at the doors of opportunity, great things often happens. Congratulations.

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