Rives Kistler

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Rives Kistler
Rives Kistler bar ceremony 2009.JPG
Kistler in 2009
97th Associate Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court
Assumed office
August 15, 2003
Appointed by Ted Kulongoski
Preceded by Susan M. Leeson
Judge of the Oregon Court of Appeals
In office
Appointed by John Kitzhaber
Preceded by R. William Riggs
Succeeded by Darleen Ortega
Personal details
Born 1949 (age 67–68)
Alma mater Williams College
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Georgetown University Law Center
Website riveskistler.org

Rives Kistler (born 1949) is an American attorney and judge in the state of Oregon. After college and law school on the East Coast, he moved to Oregon where he worked in private practice before joining the Oregon Department of Justice. Kistler then joined the Oregon Court of Appeals before appointment to the Oregon Supreme Court in 2003.


Rives Kistler earned his undergraduate degree at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, earning a BA.[1] He then earned a master's degree at the University of North Carolina before attending law school.[1] Justice Kistler graduated summa cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center in 1981. After graduation, he served as a law clerk for Charles Clark, Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and for Lewis F. Powell, Jr., Associate Justice, Supreme Court of the United States.

Legal career[edit]

On completing his clerkships, Kistler went into private practice as a litigation associate for Stoel Rives LLP in Portland, Oregon from 1983 to 1987. He then moved to the Oregon Department of Justice as an Assistant Attorney General, representing the state in civil and criminal appeals before the state and federal courts from 1987 to 1999.

Kistler began his judicial career in 1999 when Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber appointed him to the Oregon Court of Appeals.[2] He started service on that court on January 14, 1999, replacing R. William Riggs who had been elevated to the Oregon Supreme Court.[2] Kistler served on Oregon's intermediate court of appeals until August 14, 2003, when he was himself appointed to the Oregon Supreme Court.[2]

On August 15, 2003, he was appointed to the Oregon Supreme Court to replace Susan M. Leeson who had resigned.[3] Appointed by governor Ted Kulongoski, he won election to a full six-year term in 2004, winning 60 percent of the vote.[3][4] He ran unopposed for re-election in 2010, winning a second six-year term. In addition to his judicial work, Kistler has taught state constitutional law as an adjunct professor at Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon. He is a former member and vice-chair of the Oregon Board of Bar Examiners and a former member of the National Association of Attorneys General Working Groups on criminal law, federalism, and free speech; he served as chair of the working group on free speech.

Kistler is openly gay, and at the time of his appointment was the only openly LGBT state supreme court justice in the United States.[5] The second was fellow Oregonian Virginia Linder, who joined Kistler on the Oregon court in 2007. Kistler is one of nine openly LGBT state supreme court justices currently serving n the United States.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Appellate Courts Supreme Court Rives Kistler Age: 54. The Oregonian, April 28, 2004.
  2. ^ a b c "Appeals Court Judges of Oregon". Oregon Blue Book. Oregon Secretary of State. Retrieved 23 October 2010. 
  3. ^ a b Oregon Blue Book: Supreme Court Justices of Oregon. Oregon Secretary of State. Retrieved on January 10, 2009.
  4. ^ Oregon Secretary of State: 2004 primary election results
  5. ^ "Amid debate over rights, number of gay judges rising". USA Today. October 17, 2006. 

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Susan M. Leeson
Associate Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court