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Gov. Kotek appoints Aruna Masih to Oregon Supreme Court

Gov. Tina Kotek's office

SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) — Gov. Tina Kotek announced Wednesday that she will appoint Aruna Masih, a long-time employment, worker, and civil rights attorney, to the Oregon Supreme Court. Masih will be Oregon’s first Punjabi, Indian American and South Asian Supreme Court justice.

"Aruna Masih is a decorated civil rights attorney who has worked on behalf of Oregonians for over twenty-five years in both her career and community service," said Governor Kotek. “As a practicing attorney, Aruna will bring direct and recent experience working for people — an invaluable perspective that will strengthen the current Oregon Supreme Court. Aruna’s dedication to public service and passion for equal access to justice is also evident from her long-time leadership in advancing equity and diversity in the legal field. I look forward to seeing her continued service to Oregonians as a Supreme Court Justice.”

Aruna Masih (she/her) has been a practicing attorney in Oregon for over 25 years. For most of her career, she has been a partner in the law firm of Bennett Hartman LLP, providing representation in a variety of areas, including employment, labor, appellate, professional licensure, contract, and constitutional law. Masih has also represented clients at McKanna Bishop Joffe LLP. Her legal background features a significant breadth of subject matter and a depth of technical expertise in nuanced Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) and pension case law.

Masih has served as Chair of the Oregon State Bar’s Advisory Committee for Diversity and Inclusion and as Chair of the Labor and Employment Section. She is a founding member and Vice-President of the South Asian Bar Association of Oregon and currently serves on the Board of the Multnomah Bar Association and the Oregon Women Lawyers Foundation. She is also a former board member of the Oregon Women Lawyers and the Oregon Minority Lawyers Association.

Masih is also an advisory board member for the Roseway Recovery Cafe, which serves community members in northeast Portland who have experienced trauma and the results of trauma, such as homelessness, substance use disorder, and addiction. She has received the Multnomah Bar Association’s Diversity Award and an award of recognition from the Oregon Minority Lawyers Association for her work.
“Equal access to the courts is an issue of civil rights,” said Masih. “To meet the challenges of our society that the pandemic has undeniably made apparent, we must renew our purpose and redouble our efforts to create a justice system that is recognized by those who interact with it and are impacted by it to be respectful, accessible, and just. Over the last twenty-five years, I’ve represented the interests of hundreds of Oregonians, and I look forward to bringing my unique perspective to the Oregon Supreme Court. I am committed to being a fair and thoughtful Justice and to continue being a steward of equal access under the law.”

Masih’s swearing-in is imminent. Details of Masih’s investiture will be announced by the Oregon Judicial Department at a future date. 

Article Topic Follows: Oregon-Northwest

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