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Gov. Brown fills judgeships as her term in office ends

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Oregon Capital Insider

Gov. Kate Brown announced Wednesday five appointments to fill judicial vacancies. All will be effective Sunday.

Brown has made 112 judicial appointments during her time in the governor’s office. That includes eight appointments to the Oregon Supreme Court, more than any other Oregon governor.

This week’s appointments include:

  • Judge Stephen Bushong and Judge Bronson James to the Oregon Supreme Court.
  • Judge Megan Jacquot to the Oregon Court of Appeals.
  • Bryan Francesconi and Rima Ghandour to the Multnomah County Circuit Court.


“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.”

Oregon Supreme Court

Stephen Bushong, a judge on the Multnomah County Circuit Court since 2008, will fill the Supreme Court vacancy created by the planned retirement of Justice Thomas 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.

Bronson James, a judge on the Court of Appeals since 2017, will fill the Supreme Court vacancy created by the planned retirement of Chief Justice Martha 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.

Court of Appeals

Megan Jacquot, a judge on the Coos and Curry County Circuit Courts since 2016, will fill the vacancy created by Judge 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 Choctaw 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.

Multnomah County Circuit Court

Bryan Francesconi, a public defender, will fill the Multnomah County Circuit Court vacancy created by the planned retirement of Judge Eric Bloch. Francesconi began his legal career in 2007 at the Metropolitan Public Defender’s Office, where he managed both the misdemeanor unit and the felony unit. In 2018, he transitioned to the Oregon Federal Public Defender’s Office. Francesconi is a graduate of Santa Clara University and Lewis & Clark Law School. In addition to his legal practice, he serves on the Oregon Uniform Trial Court Rules Committee and the Oregon Criminal Defense Lawyers Association board of directors.

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. Ghandour, a Muslim Arab American who immigrated to the United States at age 18, practiced at Dorband Law Group in Lake Oswego, later joined the Wiles Law Group in Portland, and then started her own general civil litigation practice in 2013, focusing on construction defect litigation, class action lawsuits, insurance defense and personal injury claims. A graduate of Colgate University and the University of San Diego Law School, Ghandour serves on the board of directors for Oregon Women Lawyers, Oregon Law Foundation, the Arab American Cultural Center of Oregon, and several other organizations, and also previously served as president of the Multnomah Bar Association.

Info box: 

Under Oregon’s Constitution, governors have the duty of filling judicial vacancies. Including the appointments announced Wednesday, Dec. 28, Gov. Kate Brown has appointed 112 judges to Oregon’s trial, appellate and tax courts, during her time in office.

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+

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