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Historical Perspective

Map with looking glassThe Oregon Supreme Court Task Force on Racial/Ethnic Issues in the Judicial System, led by former Chief Justice Edwin Peterson, published its report, in 1994.  Soon after, former Chief Justice Wallace P. Carson Jr. established an Implementation Committee to describe implementation efforts, make additional proposals, and serve as a networking and coordinating entity.  The Implementation Committee published its final report in 1996.  The report recommended a Standing Implementation Committee to monitor and assist in implementing the Task Force recommendations to ensure the momentum continued.  Chief Justice Carson established the 16-member OJD Access to Justice for All Committee in 1997.  From 1997 until 2009, the mission of the Access to Justice Committee was to: 
  • Pursue and coordinate implementation of the recommendations of the Task Force, the Oregon Supreme Court Implementation Committee, and the Oregon Supreme Court/ Oregon State Bar Task Force on Gender Fairness; 
  • To monitor and evaluate the progress and effectiveness of implemented reforms; and, 
  • To make recommendations for education, additional reforms, and study concerning gender fairness, access to justice for racial and ethnic minorities, access for persons with disabilities and as otherwise directed by the Chief Justice.
That work was documented in the following reports: 
In 2009, the Access Committee was suspended due to severe budget restrictions (as were all of OJD’s state wide committees). Despite these restrictions, OJD continued to make progress toward improved access to justice.  
In September of 2016, Chief Justice Thomas A Balmer established the Oregon Supreme Court Council on Inclusion & Fairness (OSCCIF) to support OJD’s Strategic Plan to improve public access, inclusion, fairness, equality, and integrity at all levels of Oregon courts. 

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