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Wallace Preston Carson, Edit Profile

Wallace Preston Carson, was state supreme court justice. Bar: Oregon 1962, United States District Court Oregon 1963, United States Court Appeals (9th circuit) 1968, Supreme Court of the United States Court 1971, United States Court Military Appeals 1977; licensed commercial pilot Federal Aviation Administration.


Carson,, Wallace Preston was born on June 10, 1934 in Salem, Oregon, United States. Son of Wallace Preston and Edith (Bragg) Carson.


He graduated from Salem High School (now North Salem High School) in 1952. Wallace graduated from Stanford University in Palo Alto, California with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in 1956 where he was a brother of Phi Delta Theta.


He has spent time in both of Oregon’s legislative branches and served on the Oregon Supreme Court for 24 years. Carson served for 14 years as Chief Justice of the court, which is the longest of any previous Chief Justice on the Oregon bench. At Stanford he was in the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC), which lead to a commission in the United States Air Force.

Carson, Jr. then enrolled in Willamette University’s law school, graduating with his juris doctorate (JD) in 1962. After graduation, he spent three years on active duty in the Air Force. Overall Carson, Jr. was in the armed forces for 34 years, many with the Air Force Reserve and Oregon Air National Guard.

While serving in the military he rose to the rank of brigadier general while serving as a Judge Advocate General's Corps (JAG) officer, ground control intercept officer, and jet pilot. This service took him to places such as Korea and Taiwan. Carson, Jr. was in private legal practice from 1962 to 1977.

While still serving in the military and working in private practice, Wallace Carson was invited by Oregon Republican politician Bob Packwood to run for a seat in the Oregon house in 1966. There he served two terms, including one as majority leader. Then he was elected in 1970 to the state senate, and re-elected in 1974.

He served as minority floor leader during his second term. Judicial service Carson began his career in the judicial branch of government following his years in the legislature with an appointment to the Marion County Circuit Court by Governor Robert W. Straub in 1977. Then in July 1982 Governor Vic Atiyeh appointed him to replace Justice Denecke on the Oregon Supreme Court.

That fall he was elected to a full six-year term on the bench of the state’s highest court. He was re-elected in 1988, 1994, and 2000. He was chairperson of the Oregon Appellate Judges Association from 1989 to 1991.

While serving at the Oregon Supreme Court, Carson was elected by fellow justices to serve as Chief Justice from 1991 to 2005. He was the longest serving Chief Justice in Oregon's history, and about 94% of the decisions issued by the court under his tenure were unanimous decisions. While on the court he served as chairperson of the Commission on Appellate Court Performance Standards for the National Center for State Courts.

Carson did not seek re-election in 2006. Virginia Linder was elected to the position he vacated.


Member Oregon House of Representatives, 1967-1971, major leader, 1969-1971. Member Oregon State Senate, 1971-1977, minority floor leader, 1971-1977. Director Salem Area Community Council, 1967-1970, president, 1969-1970.

Member Salem Planning Commission, 1966-1972, president, 1970-1971. Co-chairman Marion County Mental Health Planning Committee, 1965-1969. Member Salem Community Goals Committee, 1965.

Republicanprecinct commiteeman, 1963-1966. Member Marion County Republican Central Exec.Com., 1963-1966. Committee predinct education Oregon Republican Central Committee, 1965.

Vestryman, acolyte, Sunday School teacher, youth coach St. Paul's Episcopal Church, since 1935. Task force on courts Oregon Council Crime and Delinquency, 1968-1969. Trustee Willamette U., since 1970.

Advisory board Catholic Center Community Services, 1976-1977. Member comporehensive planning committee Mid-Willamette Valley Council of Govts., 1970-1971. Advising committee Oregon College Education Teacher Education, 1971-1975.

President Willamette regional Oregon Lung Association, 1974-1975, state director, Executive Committee, 1975-1977. Public relations committee Williamette council Campfire Girls, 1976-1977. Criminal justice advisory board Chemeketa Community College, 1977-1979.

Member Oregon Mental Health Committee, 1979-1980. Member subcommittee Gov's Task Force Mental Health, 1980. You and government advisory com.Oreg.

Young Men’s Christian Association, since 1981. Served to colonel United States Air Force Reserve, 1956-1959. Member Marion County Bar Association (secretary-treasurer 1965-1967, director 1968-1970), Oregon Bar Association, American Bar Association, Willamette U. College Law Alumni Association (Vice-President 1968-1970), Salem Art Association, Oregon History Society, Marion County History Society, Stanford University Club (president Salem chapter 1963-1964), Delta Theta Phi.


Married Gloria Stolk, June 24, 1956. Children: Scott, Carol, Steven (deceased 1981).