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Governor seeks applicants; she has named five of the state's seven justices, including Nakamoto.

PMG PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Justice Lynn Nakamoto in the Oregon Supreme Court Building, 2019, where she had served as Associate Justice since Jan. 1. She has announced her retirement. Justice Lynn Nakamoto is retiring from the Oregon Supreme Court, and Gov. Kate Brown is seeking applicants for the appointment.

Nakamoto, 61, has been on the high court since January 2016 and will complete six years when she retires on Dec. 31.

Before Brown appointed her to succeed Justice Virginia Linder, who retired, Nakamoto served five years as a judge of the Oregon Court of Appeals. Gov. Ted Kulongoski named her in late 2010; she had been managing partner at the Portland firm of Markowitz Herbold, where she had worked since 1989.

Judge David Schuman, whose final years on the appeals court coincided with Nakamoto's first years, said her work product compared favorably with other judges on the court despite her never having served a day as a judge.

"She has the uncanny ability to confront a complex legal problem and discern exactly where the unnoticed question lies — the answer to which will drive the outcome, although it may not be obvious to people before she points it out," Schuman said at her installation ceremony for the Supreme Court.

Nakamoto was the first of Brown's five appointments to the high court, starting in 2016. The only sitting justices to predate Brown's governorship are Thomas Balmer, 2001, and Martha Lee Walters, the current chief justice, 2006. The current court has five women and two men.

A justice must be a U.S. citizen, a resident of Oregon three years before appointment, and admitted to law practice in Oregon. The appointee will be up for election to a full six-year term in 2022. The position is nonpartisan.

Interested applicants should mail an Appellate/Supreme Court Interest form to: Dustin Buehler, General Counsel, Office of the Governor, 900 Court St. N.E., Suite 254, Salem, OR 97301-4047. Hand deliveries are not accepted.

Forms must be received by 5 p.m. Monday, Aug. 30.

Forms emailed by 5 p.m. on the closing date will be considered timely if original signed forms postmarked by the closing date are later received. Only the Appellate/Supreme Court Interest form will be considered, not the Circuit Court Interest form.

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