Oregon Supreme Court expands malpractice definition

Oregon Supreme Court Justice Thomas Balmer and Oregon Court of Appeals Judge Joel DeVore won contested races Tuesday to serve additional six-year terms.

Balmer, who has been on the Supreme Court since he was appointed in 2001 by then-Gov. John Kitzhaber, defeated Van Pounds, a lawyer who says voters too often have no choice in electing judges because they’re routinely appointed by the governor and then elected in uncontested races.

Before becoming a Supreme Court justice, Balmer worked in a range of roles as a lawyer for nearly a quarter of a century.

On Monday, Balmer and the Supreme Court took swift action by putting a hold on an Eastern Oregon judge’s ruling invalidating Gov. Kate Brown’s restrictions on church gatherings and other emergency restrictions meant to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. Balmer wrote that the high court will review the arguments, then make a final decision.

DeVore was appointed to the Court of Appeals in 2013 by Kitzhaber. He defeated Kyle Krohn, an appellate public defender in Salem for the past eight years. Krohn said he believes the Appeals Court needs to do a better job of explaining its decisions.

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