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State of Oregon

History of Reform Efforts: Oregon

Formal Changes Since Inception

1859
Judges elected by the people to six-year terms. Supreme court justices also served as circuit court judges. County court judges elected to four-year terms.

1878
Judges provided for both the supreme court and the circuit court. Selection method and term lengths unchanged.

1910
Supreme court justices elected statewide rather than by geographic district.

1931
Legislature mandated nonpartisan elections for judges, requiring that candidates' names appear on the ballot "without any party designation" and prohibiting candidates from referring to their party affiliation when submitting a petition for candidacy. The Oregon State Bar had adopted a proposal advocating nonpartisan judicial elections in 1930.

1961
Tax court created by the legislature to provide uniform application of tax laws statewide.

1969
Court of appeals created by constitutional amendment. Judges elected to six-year terms.

1976
Voters approved a constitutional amendment authorizing the supreme court to discipline judges and judicial candidates for violations of rules of judicial conduct.