The U.S. Senate confirmed Wednesday the nomination of Adrienne C. Nelson, an associate justice on the Oregon Supreme Court, to serve as a federal district court judge.
The 52 to 46 vote was bipartisan, though just barely, with Democrats voting to confirm Nelson and Republicans largely voting in opposition. President Joe Biden nominated Nelson last summer.
Nelson is the first Black woman jurist in Oregon to become a federal judge.
“I approach each case with an open mind and treat everyone fairly, impartially, because to the litigants their case is the most important case in the world,” Nelson told the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee during a hearing last October. “I try to communicate all decisions clearly, so that they can be understood. And if I’m so fortunate to be confirmed, I would continue to do that.”
Nelson’s departure from the Oregon Supreme Court gives Gov. Tina Kotek the opportunity to name her first appointment to the state’s highest court. While justices and judges are elected in Oregon, they typically begin their term with a gubernatorial appointment.
Prior to being named to the Oregon Supreme Court in 2018 by then Gov. Kate Brown, Nelson spent more than a decade as a Multnomah County Circuit Court judge. She also worked in private practice and as a public defender for Multnomah Defenders Inc., one of two nonprofit public defense firms in Portland.
Oregon Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, both Democrats who championed Nelson’s nomination, voted to confirm her.
This week, the U.S. Senate confirmed Biden’s 100th judicial nominee, something Democrats see as key to rebalancing the judiciary after President Donald Trump’s more than 200 appointments to federal courts including three justices to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Through a spokesperson, Nelson did not provide any comments following Wednesday’s vote.
“I would like to acknowledge the spirits of my late father, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and dear friends who are no longer with us here on earth, but who are always with me,” Nelson told the judiciary committee last year. “I feel their presence in the room today. I hope to make everyone proud.”
This article may be updated.