Multnomah County Judge Karin Immergut Confirmed To Federal Bench

By Rebecca Ellis (OPB)
Portland, Ore. Aug. 1, 2019 1:23 a.m.

The U.S. Senate has confirmed Multnomah County Judge Karin Immergut to a vacant federal court seat in Oregon. The President Trump nominee was one of nine confirmed Wednesday for a lifetime appointment.

Immergut comes to the federal bench after spending a decade on the Multnomah County Circuit Court. She served as Oregon’s U.S. attorney during President George W. Bush’s term. She’s credited with playing a significant role in confronting some of the state’s biggest crime problems, such as methamphetamine production, identity theft, gun violence and large-scale financial fraud.


After Trump first nominated Immergut in June 2018, both of Oregon's senators endorsed the pick, saying she was "among the highest-qualified applicants" for the job.

While Immergut enjoys support from home-state Democrats, her confirmation process, nine months ago, was the source of much ire from minority party members on the Senate Judiciary Committee, the body in charge of conducting the hearings.


For the first time in history, the committee, on which Republicans enjoy a majority, opted to hold confirmation hearings while the Senate was on a monthlong recess. Democrats were occupied defending the 26 seats up in the November 2018 election. So, when Immergut's confirmation hearing rolled around on Oct. 24, half the dais sat empty. She was asked only three questions over the course of three minutes — all from one senator.

But the committee's Democrats got their chance to question Immergut later in writing, where they used the opportunity to press her on the role she played as a prosecutor on Kenneth Starr's Office of Independent Counsel.

In Starr’s 2018 memoir about the Clinton investigation, he recounted Immergut as one of the two prosecutors responsible for Monica Lewinsky’s deposition. The attorneys interviewed Lewinsky about her relationship with the president over a two-week period at her Watergate apartment.

The two prosecutors and Lewinsky "made a strong connection," he writes, though later "insisted" Starr include explicit details on Lewinsky's sexual encounters in his report.

When Sens. Kamala D. Harris and Dianne Feinstein, both California Democrats, asked Immergut about this passage of the memoir, she said she had no recollection of “insisting.”

“I believe that I performed my prosecutorial duties in a fair, neutral and balanced way,” she told the committee.

Immergut will fill the seat left open by Judge Anna J. Brown, who transitioned to “senior status” in 2017, a version of semi-retirement for federal judges.