Edwin J. Peterson

Edwin J. Peterson (born March 30, 1930) is an American jurist in the state of Oregon. He was the 39th Chief Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court, serving from 1983 to 1991, and is currently a Distinguished Jurist in Residence at Willamette University College of Law in Salem, Oregon.[1]

Edwin J. Peterson
39th Chief Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court
In office
Preceded byBerkeley Lent
Succeeded byWallace P. Carson, Jr.
80th Associate Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court
In office
Appointed byVictor Atiyeh
Preceded byDean F. Bryson
Succeeded byRobert D. Durham
Personal details
Born (1930-03-30) March 30, 1930 (age 91)
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Anna Chadwick
Alma materUniversity of Oregon


Edwin J. Peterson was born on March 30, 1930. Peterson received his undergraduate Bachelor of Science in music from the University of Oregon in 1951.[1] While at school he planned to become a Congressman by the age of 35, and attended the Republican National Convention in 1952.[2] He entered the United States Air Force the following year, attaining the rank of first lieutenant and serving until 1954.[3] Peterson then returned to school and earned his Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree in 1957 from Oregon's law school.[4] He enjoyed the law, and dropped his ambitions for Congress.[2]

Legal careerEdit

Peterson practiced law in Portland, Oregon for over 20 years with the firm Tooze, Kerr, Peterson, Marshall & Shenker.[1] Following private practice, he joined the Oregon Supreme Court in 1979 when he was appointed May 15 by Governor Vic Atiyeh.[5] He then was re-elected in 1980, 1986, and 1992.[5] In 1983 he was elected as Chief Justice of the court by his fellow justices, serving until 1991.[6]

In 1989, Peterson was awarded the University of Oregon Law's Meritorious Service Award,[4] and the following year was the recipient of the Oregon State Bar Association's Award of Merit.[7] While on the court he focused on improving the efficiency of the courts and to integrate all the courts of the Oregon Judicial Department.[5] As part of these efforts, the time to trial in Oregon dropped almost in half to about one year, and he helped create the rules for trial courts.[2] He was awarded the American Judicature Society's Herbert Harley Award in September 1992 for his efforts to improve administration of the courts in Oregon.[8] While on the court he led efforts to study and eliminate racial and ethnic biases in the courts.[9] This included serving as the chairman of a task force on bias in the Oregon courts.[2] Peterson resigned from the court effective December 31, 1993.[9]

Later yearsEdit

After leaving the court he was given the University of Oregon's Distinguished Service Award,[4] and the Oregon State Bar Association's President's Award for Affirmative Action in 1995.[7] The University of Oregon's alumni association gave Peterson their Distinguished Alumni Award in 1996,[4] and in 1998 he earned the National Inns of Court’s Lewis F. Powell Jr. Award for Professionalism and Ethics.[1] Peterson has, in the past, been a member of the Salem Pops Orchestra, where he played the French horn.


  1. ^ a b c d "Faculty". Faculty Profiles. Willamette University College of Law. Archived from the original on 2007-01-12. Retrieved 2006-12-09. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ a b c d Leeson, Fred (December 25, 1993). "Judge Edwin Peterson retires from bench". The Oregonian. p. D1.
  3. ^ "The Hon. Edwin J. Peterson". Willamette University College of Law. Retrieved 2008-11-21. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ a b c d "University Awards". University of Oregon. Archived from the original on 2003-07-12. Retrieved 2006-12-09. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ a b c West, Michael (June 22, 2000). "Arrested development: an analysis of the Oregon Supreme Court's freespeech jurisprudence in the post-Linde years". Albany Law Review. 63 (4): 1237. ISSN 0002-4678.
  6. ^ "Earliest Authorities in Oregon" (PDF). Oregon Blue Book. Oregon Secretary of State. Retrieved 2006-12-09. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ a b Award of Merit and President’s Awards. Oregon State Bar. Retrieved on November 26, 2007.
  8. ^ "Justice of Supreme Court to receive prestigious award". The Oregonian. September 18, 1992. pp. A21.
  9. ^ a b "Justice on Supreme Court will resign". The Oregonian. September 1, 1993. pp. E4.

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