Judicial Disqualification Resource Center


Recusal & Disqualification in Oregon

Oregon duckIn 1987, Oregon’s Supreme Court determined that a party who wished to disqualify an Oregon judge had to allege circumstances that would be sufficient to permit a reasonable belief that she would not receive a fair trial; and also that the moving party was the object of direct bias – as opposed to a general or philosophical bias – on the part of the judge.In Oregon currently, ORS 14.210 and ORS 14.250 provide causes for disqualification generally, while ORS 14.260 and ORS 14.270 set out the procedure for change of judge in a circuit court. Pursuant to these provisions a party who seeks to disqualify an Oregon judge is obliged to do no more than file a timely motion, supported by an affidavit swearing to a good faith belief that an impartial hearing cannot be had before that judge. The burden then shifts to the challenged judge to affirmatively prove that the motion was made in bad faith or for the purpose of delay. Should the challenged judge fail to satisfy this burden, which is extremely difficult to do, he must be disqualified. In Oregon, most questions pertaining to judicial disqualification are resolved in accordance with the state’s comprehensive statutory schemes, which is set forth in Or. Rev. Stat. §§14.210 to 14.275 and made applicable to Oregon district courts by Or. Rev. Stat. §46.141.4 Because Oregon’s disqualification scheme provides a right to challenge a judge on a quasi-peremptory basis, most judicial disqualification questions in Oregon have involved application of the state’s peremptory challenge provisions. See Chapter 27. To review ORS 14.250 click here References: 1. For an August 2012 Memo discussing Oregon’s recusal and judicial rules click here 2. To review a recent (Oct. 2013) example of a response that was made to a motion to disqualify all of Oregon’s Supreme Court justices, which includes a discussion of various Oregon recusal cases, click here 3. To review a short memo, in .pdf format, on Judicial Disqualification by Oregon ethicist Mark Fucile click here 4. For an overview of recusal and disqualification law in Oregon which is updated annually see Flamm, R., Judicial Disqualification: Recusal and Disqualification of Judges, §§ 27.14 and 28.39 . See also S. Buhai, Federal Judicial Disqualification law: A Behavioral and Quantitative Analysis, Oregon Law Rev. (Vol. 90: 690, citing Judicial Disqualification. To locate Oregon libraries that have the current edition of Judicial Disqualification click here