• Oregon State Representative, 1967-1970.
  • Oregon State Senator, 1971-1977.
  • Oregon Supreme Court Justice, 1982-2006.
  • Oregon Supreme Court Chief Justice, 1991-2005.

About Chief Justice Carson

Wallace P. Carson was born and raised in Salem, Oregon, and graduated from Salem High School (now North Salem High School). While attending school at Stanford University, Carson was in the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC). After graduating Stanford University, he enrolled in Willamette University’s law school and graduated with his Juris Doctor in 1962. He then spent three years on active duty in the Air Force, and was in the armed forces for 34 years over the course of his life.

While serving in the military and working in private practice, Carson was recruited by Bob Packwood to run as a Republican for a seat in the Oregon House of Representatives. He ran and won, and served two terms there, including one as majority leader. He then was elected to the Oregon State Senate and served two terms in the senate as well, including one as minority floor leader. During his time in the legislature, Carson helped to pass Oregon’s bottle bill and greenway bill, state constitutional amendments and significant land use legislation. 

Following his years in the legislature, Carson was appointed to the Marion County Circuit Court by Governor Robert W. Straub in 1977. Governor Vic Atiyeh appointed him to a position on the Oregon Supreme Court in 1982. Carson’s fellow justices chose him to serve as chief justice from 1991-2005. He is the longest serving Chief Justice in Oregon’s history.

– Interview recorded December 21, 2005