This oral history interview with James A. Redden was conducted by Michael O'Rourke in Redden's chambers at the U.S. District courthouse in Portland, Oregon, from November 30, 1994, to January 14, 2002. The audio is incomplete; Tape 27 is missing as of 2015.
In this interview, Redden discusses his family background and early life in Massachusetts, including his memories of the Depression. He then talks about his Army service in the Pacific theater during World War II. He discusses his college experience at the Boston University College of Business Administration and the Boston College Law School, including his social life, his professors, and the evolution of his political views. He also talks about his marriage to Joan Johnson; his jobs after law school; and relocating to Oregon. He discusses practicing law in Medford, including some of the cases he tried and judges he argued before. He then talks about his involvement with the Democratic Party, including serving as central committee chair and his involvement in Oregon campaigns, particularly the 1960 Democratic presidential primary.
Redden discusses serving in the Oregon House of Representatives from 1962 to 1969. He describes each legislative session, including his campaigns; legislation that came up, including on pollution, insurance, electrical utilities, and taxes; and his fellow legislators, including Clarence Barton, Monte Montgomery, and Berkeley Lent. He also talks about balancing his legislative duties with his law practice and family life; working with lobbyists; and national politics contemporary to the interview in 1995. He also talks about the passage of the Beach Bill in 1967; his experience as a delegate to the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Illinois; and his 1972 campaign for Oregon treasurer. He discusses serving as state treasurer from 1972 to 1976, including his duties and accomplishments. He then discusses serving as Oregon attorney general from 1977 to 1980, including his campaign and cases he prosecuted, particularly on Native American fishing rights.
Redden discusses serving as a judge on the U.S. District Court of Oregon from 1980 to 1995. He describes his appointment by President Jimmy Carter. He talks about his fellow judges, including Helen Frye and Owen Panner; the procedures of the court, particularly scheduling and the role of magistrate judges; and lawyers that argued before him. He discusses the selection and role of juries in federal court, as well as the increasing politicization of judicial appointments. He speaks at length about his role in and the background of The United States v. Loudhawk and the American Indian Movement. He closes the interview by discussing cases he heard regarding the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act in the late 1990s, and talking about his children, their careers, and their families.
Redden, James A.