2015…

COLOR KEY: BLACK font = legal events in Oregon | BLUE font = legal events in the Oregon State Bar | Brown font in cream boxes = federal events | hyperlinks are GREEN

2015 Secretary of State Kate Brown assumes the office of Governor of Oregon on February 18, 2015, following the resignation of Governor John Kitzhaber. Openly bisexual, Brown is the first person in any state to become governor while openly LGBT.

2015 Loretta Lynch is the first African-American woman to become Attorney General of the United States.

2015 The United States Supreme Court rules that same-sex couples have a fundamental constitutional right to marry, striking down voter-approved legislation prohibiting same-sex marriage, and holding that states must recognize lawful same-sex marriages performed in other states.

2015 Raffi Freedman-Gurspan is appointed Director of Outreach and Recruitment in the White House Office of Presidential Personnel. Freedman-Gurspan is the first openly transgender White House staff member.

2015 Michael Levelle is elected the first African-American President Elect of the Oregon State Bar Board of Governors.

2015 Minoru Yasui, posthumously receives America’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom on November 16, 2015. Yasui, an Oregon lawyer, deliberately violated a WWII military curfew order excluding persons of Japanese ancestry from designated zones. Yasui spent nine months in solitary confinement during the subsequent legal battle in which he challenged the constitutionality of the order. The Supreme Court upheld the conviction Yasui v. United States, 320 U.S. 115 (1943). His conviction was vacated over 40 years later in a coram nobis proceeding, but the Court refused to issue a declaration that the conviction was unconstitutional.

2015 Governor Kate Brown appoints Oregon Appeals Court Judge Lynn R. Nakamoto to the Oregon Supreme Court. Justice Nakamoto is the first Asian American to serve on Oregon’s highest court.

2015 The National Black Law Student Association holds its annual convention in Oregon for the first time.

2015 The Oregon Supreme Court adopts amendments to Rules of Professional Conduct 8.4 clarifying that it is professional misconduct for attorneys to engage in harassment and intimidation based on protected-class status.