Name and location of repository
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Oral history interview with Wallace P. Carson, Jr.
- 1996-06-12 - 1996-10-24 (Creation)
.1 cubic feet; 29 audiocassettes (29 hr., 3 min., 41 sec.)
Name of creator
Wallace P. Carson, Jr. was born in 1934 and grew up in Salem, Oregon. He graduated from Stanford University in 1956; that same year, he and Gloria Stolk were married. In 1962, he graduated from the Willamette University Law School, and he practiced as a lawyer from 1962 to 1977. He also served in the Air Force, the Air Force Reserves, and the Oregon National Guard for a total of 34 years. He was recruited by Bob Packwood to run as a Republican for the Oregon House of Representatives in 1966. He won that race and represented Marion County in the House from 1967 to 1970, serving as minority leader during his second term. He was then elected to the Oregon Senate, serving from 1971 to 1977. Governor Bob Straub appointed him to the Marion County Circuit Court in 1977. He then served on the Oregon Supreme Court from 1982 to 2006 and was chief justice from 1991 to 2005. At the time of his retirement, he was the longest-serving chief justice in Oregon history.
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Scope and content
This oral history interview with Wallace P. Carson, Jr. was conducted by Clark Hansen at the Oregon Supreme Court in Salem from June 12 to October 24, 1996. In the interview, Carson discusses his early life and childhood in Salem, including his memories of World War II. He also discusses his education, from elementary school to attending Stanford University and Willamette University Law School. He also discusses meeting his wife, Gloria Stolk, and his involvement with the Republican Party. Carson describes his 34-year military career in the Air Force and the Oregon National Guard, as both a pilot and a lawyer. He also talks about practicing law in Salem.
Carson then talks about his political career, beginning with his election to the Oregon House of Representatives in 1966. He discusses legislation on topics including taxes, particularly a sales tax; land use; education; and women's rights. Carson describes his time in the Oregon Senate, from 1970 to 1977, including his campaign, the Vietnam War, taxes, his relationship with the media, the criminal code, labor, utilities, and health care. He also discusses working with Oregon legislators and governors, including Tony Yturri, Mark Hatfield, Tom McCall, Senate Secretary Cecil Edwards, Vic Atiyeh, Bob Straub, and Jason Boe.
Carson then discusses his experience on the Marion County Circuit Court from 1977 to 1982, including cases on medical malpractice. Carson next turns to his service on the Oregon Supreme Court from 1982 to 2006. He discusses cases he presided over on topics including capital punishment, mental illness, privacy, search and seizure, and elections. He also discusses the role of the chief justice, court procedure, and his interactions with attorneys. Carson discusses his fellow justices, including Betty Roberts, Jacob Tanzer, Arno Denecke, Hans Linde, and Mitch Gillette. He also discusses the history of penal systems, his re-election campaigns, and his home life.
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Conditions governing access
Joint copyright held by the Oregon Historical Society and the U.S. District Court of Oregon Historical Society. Use is allowed according to the following license: In Copyright – Educational Use Permitted: http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC-EDU/1.0/
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Preferred citation: Oral history interview with Wallace P. Carson, Jr., by Clark Hansen, SR 3903, Oregon Historical Society Research Library.
Forms part of the United States District Court Oral History Project.
Incomplete transcript (174 pages) is available for in-person use at the Oregon Historical Society Research Library.
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Rules or conventions
Finding aid based on DACS (Describing Archives: A Content Standard), 2nd Edition.