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Brown makes history with high court pick

SALEM — For the first time in state history, Oregon's Supreme Court will have more women than men when an appeals court judge who was appointed on Wednesday joins the seven-seat bench.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown appointed Rebecca Duncan, who sits on the Oregon Court of Appeals, to fill a vacancy that opens when Justice David Brewer retires on June 30.

Brown called the appointment "historic" and said Duncan has shown "fairness and sensitivity to the needs of vulnerable litigants."

Brown previously appointed two other women to the Supreme Court, the most recent on March 31. When Duncan joins it, four of the court's seven members will be women.

Officials said the previous high-water mark on the court for female representation before Brown became governor was two female justices.

Oregon has outpaced the U.S. Supreme Court in gender proportion. The nation's highest court has four women among its 12 justices. Oregon joins other states that have women-majority Supreme Courts, including California's where four of the seven justices are women and Washington, where six of the nine are female.

Duncan received her law degree from the University of Michigan Law School. After law school, she was a trial attorney with the Metropolitan Public Defender in the Portland area.