By U.S. Magistrate Judge Stacie F. Beckerman
On December 17, 2019, the District of Oregon welcomed U.S. District Judge Karin J. Immergut to the federal bench at her formal investiture in the ceremonial courtroom of the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse. Prior to the ceremony, a processional of more than sixty judges from Oregon’s federal and state benches entered the courtroom and sat together.
Jacob Yerke, Judge Immergut’s courtroom deputy, opened court, and then-Chief U.S. District Judge Michael W. Mosman welcomed the standing room only crowd. Former Oregon Attorney General, Supreme Court Justice, and Governor Ted Kulongoski (who appointed Judge Immergut to the state bench in 2009) shared remarks. He was followed by Lou Savage, chair of the bipartisan Judicial Selection Committee appointed by Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and Representative Greg Walden. Two close friends of Judge Immergut, the Honorable Kelly Skye, Multnomah County Circuit Judge, and Debra Wong Yang, former U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California, shared warm remarks about their colleague and friend. The speakers concluded with Jim McDermott (Judge Immergut’s husband) and their oldest daughter.
U.S. District Judge Anna J. Brown administered the oath of office, after which Judge Immergut’s daughters performed the robing ceremony. Judge Immergut then thanked the many individuals who have supported her throughout her legal career. The ceremony concluded with Portland musician Ashleigh Flynn singing Born to Run, one of Judge Immergut’s family’s favorite Bruce Springsteen songs. Following the courtroom ceremony, guests celebrated Judge Immergut at a courthouse reception.
Judge Immergut received her federal judicial commission on August 5, 2019, after the U.S. Senate confirmed her nomination by voice vote on July 31, 2019. Prior to joining the federal bench, Judge Immergut served as a Multnomah County Circuit Judge for a decade. She previously served as U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon from 2003 until her appointment to the state bench in 2009. She has also served as an assistant U.S. attorney in both the District of Oregon and the Central District of California, a Multnomah County deputy district attorney, and in private practice in Washington, D.C. and Vermont. She graduated from Amherst College and from Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley. Judge Immergut is the daughter of immigrants (her father was an Austrian chemist and her mother a Swedish mathematician).
Judge Immergut fills the seat of Judge Brown, who transitioned to senior status in 2017. The seat was previously filled by the Honorable Robert S. Bean (1909-1931), James A. Fee (1931-1954), William G. East (1955-1967), Robert C. Belloni (1967-1984), Edward Leavy (1984-1987), and Malcolm Marsh (1987-1998).
Judge Immergut joins Judges Ann Aiken, Mosman, Marco Hernandez, Michael Simon, and Michael McShane as the current active U.S. District Judges for the District of Oregon. Judge Immergut is just the fourth woman, of thirty judges, to serve as a U.S. District Judge in the District of Oregon since 1859 (joining Judges Brown and Aiken, and the late Judge Helen Frye).