Following 3-Year Suspension, Vance Day Seeks a Second Act on the Oregon Court of Appeals

A longtime incumbent now faces a controversial challenger.

WHAT’S THE RACE?

Judge, Oregon Court of Appeals, Position 3.

WHO’S THE INCUMBENT?

Judge Darleen Ortega, who has served on the Court of Appeals since 2003. She also teaches at the University of Oregon’s School of Law. She’s the first woman of color and the only Latina to serve on the appellate court.

WHO’S THE CHALLENGER?

Vance Day, a former Marion County circuit judge. In 2018, the Oregon Supreme Court suspended him for three years after the state’s judicial fitness commission found a series of ethical violations. Three years earlier, in 2015, the commission recommended Day’s removal from the bench altogether.

WHY DOES IT MATTER?

A onetime chair of the Oregon Republican Party, Day is attempting to resurrect a judicial career marked by past ethical and legal troubles.

The judicial fitness commission’s investigation was prompted in part by Day’s refusal to wed gay couples. The probe also revealed that he had hung a picture of Adolf Hitler in the Marion County courthouse. (Day said it was part of a historical display about the defeat of fascism.)

WHAT DO THE CANDIDATES SAY?

“I’m seeking reelection because I’m committed to the ideal of access to justice and to moving the judiciary toward a more open and listening posture,” Ortega tells WW. “My opponent was suspended from a prior judicial position for willful judicial misconduct. An appellate court is a place where collaboration, consensus-building, and listening are especially important. The impacts of our work are profound and hard for the public to understand even while they feel those impacts.”

Day did not respond to WW’s request for comment by press deadline.