|Virginia L. Linder|
|99th Associate Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court|
January 2, 2007
|Preceded by||Wallace P. Carson, Jr.|
|Judge of the Oregon Court of Appeals|
September 1997 – January 2007
|Appointed by||John Kitzhaber|
|Preceded by||William L. Richardson|
|Succeeded by||Timothy Sercombe|
|Solicitor General of Oregon|
|Born||Cañon City, Colorado|
Virginia Lynn Linder (born 1953) is an American judge from Oregon who has served, since January 2007, as the 99th justice of the Oregon Supreme Court. She had previously served since 1997 on the Oregon Court of Appeals. In the 2006 elections, she was elected to the Supreme Court, defeating former Labor Commissioner and Republican gubernatorial candidate Jack Roberts.
Virginia Linder was born in Colorado, the daughter of two teachers, but grew up mostly in Carmichael, California. Linder earned her first degree in political science from Southern Oregon State College in Ashland, Oregon in 1975. She then spent two years working on the East Coast in order to save money for law school before returning to Oregon in 1977 to study law at Willamette University College of Law in Salem. She graduated from Willamette in 1980 with a Juris Doctor. While in school she worked at the Oregon Department of Justice during both her second and third years of law school, clerking in the Appellate Division of the Attorney General’s Office.
She began her career as an Assistant Attorney General in the Appellate Division of the Oregon Department of Justice, starting in 1980. Then in 1984 Linder was appointed as assistant solicitor general of Oregon. In 1986, at the age of 33, she was appointed Oregon Solicitor General, being the first woman to hold that position and serving in that office for longer than anyone else in state history. During her time as Solicitor General, she represented the state of Oregon in front of the United States Supreme Court, winning Oregon v. ACF in 1994.
In 1997, she was appointed to the Court of Appeals by Governor John Kitzhaber, and was re-elected in 1998 and 2004. Her campaign for a seat on the Oregon Supreme Court began in 2005 when Chief Justice Wallace Carson, Jr. announced that he would retire from the court in 2006. She faced Roberts and Pendleton attorney Gene Hallman in the May primary, winning 39% of the vote to Roberts' 42%. Because no candidate won a majority of the votes, Linder and Roberts advanced to the November runoff. In that runoff, Linder defeated Roberts by 52% to 48%. Linder's campaign committee raised just over $350,000 for her campaign but was outspent by more than two-to-one by the Roberts committee, which raised over $710,000. Since 1998 she has been a professor at Willamette's law school.
Linder is the first woman elected to the Oregon Supreme Court; all previous female justices had been appointed to fill vacancies. She is also the first ever openly lesbian member of a state supreme court anywhere in the nation and the first openly LGBT person elected as a non-incumbent to a state supreme court. Her partner is Colleen Sealock. She serves as one of seven openly LGBT supreme court justices in the United States, alongside fellow Oregonian Rives Kistler, Colorado Supreme Court justice Monica Marquez, Hawaii Supreme Court justice Sabrina McKenna, Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court justice Barbara Lenk, Connecticut Supreme Court justice Andrew J. McDonald and Vermont Supreme Court justice Beth Robinson. Her 2006 election campaign was supported by the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund. Linder announced she is running for reelection in 2012.
- "Justice Virginia Linder, Oregon Supreme Court". Multnomah Bar Association. June 2005 (updated 2008).
- "Blazing a Trail to the Supreme Court". Willamette Lawyer. Spring 2007.
- "Dept of Revenue of Oregon v. ACF Industries, Inc., et al.". AltLaw. Retrieved December 28, 2009.[dead link]
- "May 16, 2006, Primary Election Abstract of Votes". Oregon Secretary of State. Retrieved December 28, 2009.
- "November 7, 2006, General Election Abstract of Votes". Oregon Secretary of State. Retrieved December 28, 2009.
- "Political Notebook: Bisexual, lesbian politicians stump in SF". Bay Area Reporter. November 22, 2007. Retrieved December 28, 2009.
- Victory Fund
- Jung, Helen (January 20, 2012). "State Supreme Court Justice Thomas Balmer to become Oregon's next chief justice". The Oregonian. Retrieved January 21, 2012.