A First for Asian Americans in Oregon

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Lynn Nakamoto appointed to state Supreme Court.

Oregon Supreme Court Justice Lynn Nakamoto (second from left) is joined by Oregon JACL Chapter members (from left) Setsy Larouche, Marleen Ikeda Wallingford and Chip Larouche at her investiture ceremony on Jan. 25.

Oregon Supreme Court Justice Lynn Nakamoto (second from left) is joined by Oregon JACL Chapter members (from left) Setsy Larouche, Marleen Ikeda Wallingford and Chip Larouche at her investiture ceremony on Jan. 25.

SALEM, Ore. — Judge Lynn Nakamoto was appointed an associate justice to the Oregon Supreme Court by Gov. Kate Brown, becoming the first Asian American to sit on the state’s highest bench.

An investiture ceremony was held on Jan. 25 in Salem, Ore. Nakamoto previously served on the Oregon Court of Appeals.

Nakamoto was born in Los Angeles and grew up in Southern California. She received an A.B. in philosophy with honors from Wellesley College (1982) and attended UC Berkeley (1980-81) and New York University School of Law (J.D. 1985). For more than 20 years, Nakamoto was a managing shareholder at Markowitz Herbold, a Portland law firm focusing on business litigation, where she gained valuable experience in litigating appeals.

She was also the vice chair of the Oregon Board of Bar Examiners in 2001 and chair of the Oregon State Bar Affirmative Action Committee in 2006. From 1985 to 1987, she worked at Bronx Legal Services in New York City.

Nakamoto served as the Portland JACL chapter president in 1996-1997, and the chapter is very proud to have one of its active members now sitting on the bench of Oregon’s Supreme Court. Portland Chapter Membership Chair Setsy Larouche, President Marleen Ikeda Wallingford and Treasurer Chip Larouche were among those in attendance at the investiture ceremony.

The Oregon Supreme Court is composed of seven elected justices, and Nakamoto will run for election in 2016.

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