Byline: The Register-Guard
The retirement of Justice Michael Gillette leaves a gaping void on the Oregon Supreme Court. Of the two candidates seeking to replace the court's most senior and productive member, Jack Landau is the right choice for voters in the May 18 primary election.
Landau has served 17 years on the Oregon Court of Appeals, where he has a track record as a fair, thoughtful and productive judge.
After earning a law degree from Lewis and Clark College, Landau worked in private practice. He then ran the special litigation unit for the Oregon Department of Justice, where he dealt with issues ranging from beach access to video poker. Landau later became deputy attorney general, where he directed the department's day-to-day operations under then-Attorney General Dave Frohnmayer.
In 1993 Landau was appointed to the Court of Appeals, which primarily reviews the decisions of state trial courts and administrative agencies. While serving on that court, he has written extensively on issues including Oregon's search and seizure clause, constitutional law, statutory construction and environmental law. He teaches a course on legislation and statutory interpretation at Willamette University College of Law.
Judges and lawyers familiar with Landau describe him as smart, respectful and decisive. They uniformly praise his work ethic, and for good reason: Landau consistently has been the most productive member of what is widely recognized as one of the nation's most productive appellate courts. Since he has been on the court, he has written more than 1,000 opinions, 85 of them in the last year alone.
In an era in which judicial candidates at all levels are scrutinized for ideological leanings, Landau is a moderate whose judicial philosophy appears to be a simple fidelity to the law.