Susan P. Graber

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Susan Pia Graber
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
Assumed office
April 1, 1998
Appointed byBill Clinton
Preceded byEdward Leavy
Associate Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court
In office
May 2, 1990 – April 1, 1998
Appointed byNeil Goldschmidt
Preceded byRobert E. Jones
Succeeded byR. William Riggs
Personal details
Born (1949-07-05) July 5, 1949 (age 70)
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
EducationWellesley College (B.A.)
Yale Law School (J.D.)

Susan Pia Graber (born July 5, 1949) is an American attorney and jurist. She is a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. A native of Oklahoma, she was the 90th Associate Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court, and served on the Oregon Court of Appeals.

Early life[edit]

Graber was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, on July 5, 1949.[1][2] After high school Graber attended Wellesley College in Wellesley, Massachusetts.[1] She graduated from Wellesley with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1969, Phi Beta Kappa.[1] Graber attended Yale Law School where she earned her Juris Doctor in 1972.[1] She attended Yale with Hillary Rodham (now Clinton) and Bill Clinton.[3]

Legal career[edit]

Upon graduation Graber became an assistant attorney general for the New Mexico Bureau of Revenue, where she continued until 1974.[1] That year she entered private law practice in Santa Fe, New Mexico, until 1975.[1] In 1975 she moved to Ohio where she returned to private practice, this time in Cincinnati, until 1978.[1] Then in 1978 Graber moved to Portland, Oregon, where she became an associate at Stoel Rives Boley Jones and Grey (now Stoel Rives LLP).[1][4] In 1981 she became a partner.[1] In 1986, the Northwest Women’s Law Center gave her their Founder’s Award to recognize her pro bono service.[4]

In 1983, while she was a practicing attorney, Graber was designated to serve occasionally as a state district court judge on a temporary or pro tempore basis when the regular judges of the court were unavailable.[5] She also served as a mediator for the United States District Court for the District of Oregon from 1986 to 1988.[4]

Judicial career[edit]

Graber began her career as a judge when Oregon Governor Neil Goldschmidt appointed her to the Oregon Court of Appeals. She was appointed on February 11, 1988, to replace judge Thomas F. Young, who had died in office. Graber served on the court of appeals until May 2, 1990.[6] While on the bench she served as president of the Oregon Appellate Judges Association.[4]

On May 2, 1990, Graber was appointed to the Oregon Supreme Court by Governor Goldschmidt to replace Robert E. Jones.[7][8] However, Jones, prior to resigning his position, filed for re-election and won the election.[7] Thus Jones resigned a second time and Goldschmidt appointed Graber a second time on January 7, 1991.[7] She became the second woman to serve on that court, following Betty Roberts.[3] Graber then won election to a full six-year term in 1992, but resigned on April 1, 1998, before the term expired.[7] While on the court she was considered to be a candidate for appointment to the United States Supreme Court.[3]

On July 30, 1997, President Bill Clinton nominated Graber to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to replace Judge Edward Leavy, who assumed senior judge status.[1] She was subsequently confirmed by the United States Senate in a 98-0 vote on March 17, 1998, and received her commission two days later.[1] With her appointment she became the first female judge to serve on that court from the state of Oregon.[9]

In 1998, the Classroom Law Project named her Legal Citizen of the Year, and in 2001 she received the Oregon For Country Award from Yale University. Graber was selected to be chairperson of the American Bar Association’s Committee on Appellate Practice in 2001.[10] She has served on two committees of the United States Judicial Conference: Committee on State-Federal Jurisdiction (2010–13) and Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure (2013-16).

In 2006, Judge Graber upheld a 159-year mandatory minimum sentence imposed on a mentally handicapped getaway driver.[11]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Graber, Susan - Federal Judicial Center".
  2. ^ Who's who in American law. Marquis Who's Who, Inc. 1998. p. 292. ISBN 978-0-8379-3513-3.
  3. ^ a b c West, Michael (June 22, 2000). "Arrested development: an analysis of the Oregon Supreme Court's freespeech jurisprudence in the post-Linde years". Albany Law Review. Albany Law School. 63 (4): 1237. ISSN 0002-4678.
  4. ^ a b c d Press Release May 11, 1999. Archived July 17, 2003, at the Wayback Machine University of Oregon. Retrieved on January 25, 2008.
  5. ^ "U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit: Federal Judge Profiles" (PDF). BerkeleyLaw. pp. 23–26. Retrieved 11 December 2015.
  6. ^ Earliest Authorities in Oregon - Judges of the Oregon Court of Appeals. Oregon Secretary of State. Retrieved on January 25, 2008.
  7. ^ a b c d Oregon Blue Book: Earliest Authorities in Oregon - Supreme Court Justices of Oregon. Oregon Secretary of State. Retrieved on January 25, 2008.
  8. ^ Oregon State Archives: Oregon Governor's Records Guides. Oregon Secretary of State. Retrieved on January 25, 2008.
  9. ^ Firsts. Archived 2007-09-29 at the Wayback Machine OWLS Foundation. Retrieved on January 25, 2008.
  10. ^ Moot Court Board: The Honorable Susan P. Graber. Cornell Law School. Retrieved on January 25, 2008.
  11. ^ "Recent Case: Ninth Circuit Affirms Mandatory Sentence" (PDF). Harvard Law Review. 120: 1988. 2007. Retrieved 25 October 2017.


Legal offices
Preceded by
Robert E. Jones
Associate Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court
Succeeded by
R. William Riggs
Preceded by
Edward Leavy
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit