Former state Rep. Ann Lininger was sworn in Monday as a judge of the Clackamas County Circuit Court in a courtroom overflowing with politicians, legal colleagues, family and friends.
Judge Robert Herndon administered the oath of office and cloaked Lininger in her black robes after calling the former lawmaker "an excellent choice" to become the 31st circuit judge in county history. The official ceremony took place after opening remarks by state Senate Majority Leader Ginny Burdick and Senate Republican leader Ted Ferrioli, who were joined in the courtroom by a handful of lawmakers from Salem.
Burdick, who co-chaired the Legislature's Joint Committee on Marijuana Regulation with Lininger, called her colleague "wicked smart, with an innate sense of fairness and justice."
"I can't imagine a person more well-suited for a judgeship," Burdick said. Ferrioli agreed, joking that he and Burdick had contemplated trying to talk Gov. Kate Brown out of appointing Lininger to the bench.
"We will miss her ability to work across the aisle for the good of all Oregonians," Ferrioli said.
Lininger's appointment was one of eight announced by Brown in July — three on the Oregon Court of Appeals, three on the Multnomah County Circuit Court and two on the Clackamas County Circuit Court. The second Clackamas County appointment went to Ulanda L. Watkins, a managing attorney at the insurance company GEICO, who was in the courtroom Monday to see Lininger sworn in.
Also in attendance: Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum; Clackamas County Commissioners Jim Bernard, Ken Humberston and Paul Savas; Clackamas County District Attorney John Foote; former Lake Oswego Mayor Judie Hammerstad and current City Councilors Jackie Manz and Theresa Kohlhoff; attorney Rob LeChevallier, who worked with Lininger at Buckley Law P.C. in Lake Oswego; and a standing-room-only crowd of Lininger's legal colleagues and political allies that spilled into an adjoining hallway.
Lininger's husband, daughter, brother and parents also watched as she told the crowd that she had "hit the jackpot with this job."
"I have focused my life on helping vulnerable families and children," she said, a priority that will continue as she works with the county's juvenile court system "to help people turn their lives around."
"We need to work together to make sure our justice system works for everyone," she said.
Lininger represented House District 38 in the Oregon Legislature since 2014, when she was appointed to fill the seat vacated by Rep. Chris Garrett; she was elected to a full term without opposition later that year, and was re-elected by a wide margin over Republican challenger Patrick DeKlotz in November 2016. Lininger also served on the Clackamas County Board of Commissioners from 2009 to 2013.
In addition to her role in the Legislature, Lininger worked as an attorney for Metropolitan Public Defender Services Inc. She previously practiced business law at Buckley Law P.C. in Lake Oswego and worked as general counsel at Oregon Iron Works.
Lininger also has served as co-director of the Community Development Law Center and as director of program-related investing at the Meyer Memorial Trust. She clerked for judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit and the U.S. District Court. She is a graduate of Yale University and the New York University School of Law.
A search for her replacement is currently underway, with four candidates vying for the job. Clackamas and Multnomah County commissioners are scheduled to interview Lake Oswego City Councilors Joe Buck and Theresa Kohlhoff, political consultant Andrea Salinas and public relations executive Neil Simon on Sept. 13.