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Advancing Equity in the Courts

Judge honored for leadership

Oregon Supreme Court Justice Adrienne Nelson.


Oregon Supreme Court Justice Adrienne Nelson is being honored for distinguished leadership for her work to eliminate structural barriers to the courts and advancing procedural fairness for historically marginalized constituencies, including people of color.


Nelson, the first African American to sit on the state’s highest court and on any appellate state court, was recently presented the equity achievement award from the National Consortium on Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the Courts.


The award recognizes a distinguished lifetime or an exceptional contribution to the goal of advancing and preserving a court system that is free of racial and ethnic bias and is fair to all court clients.


Nelson was given credit for leading efforts to educate judges, court staff, lawyers, jurors, and the public about historical racial disparities in Oregon law, the impact of implicit bias and how to overcome those biases, among other impacts.

She was nominated for the award by a group of Oregon jurists and state court administrators, including support from Oregon Chief Justice Martha L. Walters, Gov. Kate Brown, and Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum.


A former Multnomah County Judge, Nelson’s legal career has spanned nearly 25 years.

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