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Congratulations are certainly in order for Justice Adrienne C. Nelson, who, last week, was appointed to the Oregon Supreme Court. Rather surprisingly, throughout the history of the Oregon Supreme Court, there has never been an African American justice before Judge Nelson. In fact, the same holds true for all of Oregon's appellate court system as well.

Judge Nelson is rather happy to be breaking barriers, making history, and providing a positive role model to the minority children in the state. Being a civil rights advocate, she is grateful to have the opportunity, but cautioned that she would not be an "activist" judge, but rather a bridge.

At the Wyoming Supreme Court building, a new art exhibition, located in the aptly named Equality Hall, is set to debut in early February. The exhibition celebrates the contributions of women to the law and honors many of Wyoming's women who broke new legal ground. Notably, Wyoming, which adopted the nickname the Equality State, was the first state to pass women's suffrage, as well as actually allow women to vote, serve on juries, and hold public office.

On the North side of Equality Hall, portraits of some of the most influential women in the state's history will hang, including the first woman admitted to the state's bar, the first woman judge, as well as the first woman governor (who was elected back in 1925). On the South side of the hall, there will be facts about, and shadowboxes depicting artifacts of, the first women in the legal field that made significant contributions.

With all the talk of the rare 'Unqualified' ratings being handed out to President Trump's judicial nominees, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse had some rather illuminating questions for Matthew Petersen, a nominee for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Lucky for everyone except Petersen, those questions were captured on a video which is going viral.

Most notably, Petersen was rated as "Qualified" but his responses to Senator Whitehouse's questions really call into question what that rating even means. During the rather direct questioning, Petersen admitted to never trying a case, never arguing a motion, nor even knowing the purpose of a motion in limine. All pretty shocking stuff given the fact he's nominated to the federal bench.

New State Named Top 'Judicial Hellhole'

'We're number two! We're number two!'

Rarely does that statement raise the roof. But for California lawyers, it's almost something to brag about because California is no longer the No. 1 Judicial Hellhole in the nation.

Florida has snatched that title from the Golden State, which has been a perennial leader in the annual ranking. It's not easy to lead a nation into a litigious hell, but somebody has to do it.

One Law School Drags Down Statewide Bar Pass Rate

There is a death spiral in the cosmos, when a black hole consumes a nearby star.

The black hole literally sucks the light out of existence. Law school can be like that, especially after three years and your eyes have gone dim from late-night reading.

But one law school is being blamed for bringing down an entire state. Charleston Law School tanked the South Carolina bar exam, pulling down the statewide pass rate to an increasingly dark place.

A recently filed motion in the ongoing legal saga prompted by the Netflix series Making a Murderer has legal commentators questioning the Steven Avery matter once again. After Brendan Dassey's conviction was overturned, it seems like Avery's attorneys are trying to get the same result.

According to the recent motion, crucial new evidence has been discovered, which, if believed, could potentially, circumstantially, just maybe, exonerate Avery.

Japanese Man Admitted to Bar 63 Years After His Death to Repudiate Injustice

If there are lawyers in the afterlife, Sei Fujii is one of them now.

The California Supreme Court granted Fujii a law license 63 years after he died, acknowledging that he was wrongfully denied during his lifetime. The justices praised him for his contributions to society in the face of discrimination and disadvantage.

"Despite his unjust exclusion from the legal profession, Fujii undertook extraordinary efforts to apply his education and talents to advancing the rule of law in California," the court said.

If you're looking to make an impact, however small, on human rights and legal education, consider checking out "The Promise" this weekend. The film, which stars Christian Bale and debuts on Friday, tells the tale of the Armenian Genocide of 1915, which saw as many as 1.5 million Armenians massacred.

You won't just be watching a movie, though. You'll be helping support UCLA law school's new Promise Institute for Human Rights. The institute will be funded by $20 million in proceeds from the film and will dedicate itself to research and advocacy on genocide and human rights.

Over five decades, Bob Dylan has left an indelible mark on American culture and music -- and even on the law. His lyrics are cited in judicial opinions more than any other writer's, winding up in everything from federal administrative law opinions (citing "Like a Rolling Stone") to state consumer fraud rulings ("It Ain't Me, Babe").

But Dylan's influence reaches beyond rhetorical flourishes and poetic asides, according to Vermont Law professor Philip N. Meyer. Dylan has had "a profound influence upon lawyers and judges, especially mid- to late-career baby boomers like myself," Meyer argued recently in the ABA Journal.

It's a sad day for the legal community in Chicago. Cook County Associate Judge Raymond Myles was fatally shot outside his home in Chicago's South Side this morning. Judge Myles was killed in what appears to have been a robbery attempt gone awry. A woman he was with was shot in the leg and hospitalized.

Myles, 66, had been involved in adjudicating several high-profile cases during his years on the bench, including the trial of William Balfour, who was convicted for killing several of Jennifer Hudson's relatives.