Remarkably, no African American has ever served on either the Oregon Court of Appeals or the Oregon Supreme Court.

Gov. Kate Brown changed that today, naming Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Adrienne C. Nelson to fill a vacancy on the Oregon Supreme Court.

Nelson grew up in Arkansas, where, according to a news release from Brown's office, she first gained exposure to the legal system when her mother was forced to sue the local school district in order for Nelson to be recognized as valedictorian. She later graduated of the University of Arkansas and the University of Texas School of Law. She practiced law in Portland from 1996 to 2006, when former Gov. Ted Kulongoski named her to the bench.

"Judge Nelson brings to our highest court an important, new voice and wealth of experience she has gained in twelve years on the trial bench," Brown said in a statement. "In addition to her work in the courtroom, she has made extraordinary strides to make the trial bench more receptive to the needs and experiences of diverse and underserved communities in our state. Judge Nelson is a widely respected civil rights champion, whose perspective on the bench moves us closer to our shared vision of justice for all."