New Con Court Justice Austin Palacios brings experience and a fresh perspective to the job

The ASUO recently underwent a round of hires to fill a number of vacant seats in various areas of the association. Austin Palacios is one of these new appointees, selected by Executive and confirmed by Senate for a seat on the Constitution Court as an associate justice.

Born and raised in McMinnville, Oregon, Palacios is now a senior sociology and political science double major in the Clark Honors College. He decided on this combination due to his interest in public law.

“I was always interested in politics in some sort or another, just mostly by legislation and how it affects social issues,” Palacios said. “Putting the two together seemed like the right choice for me.”

Palacios brings more to the job than a passion for equitable education. He has a wealth of experiences from which to draw in his position as an associate justice.

Last year, Palacios studied abroad in London and worked with a nonprofit called the Outward Bound Trust, which fundraises on a national level to mentor to underprivileged inner-city children and give them chances to experience activities that supplement their education, like rock climbing, sailing and mountaineering.

“I think a very important part of education, and the reason that we have a student government here is that the other things outside of education, in that sphere, are important to sow into and to provide opportunities for,” Palacios said.

He also has been interning with a nonprofit law firm called Access the Law, which has provided him with further experience in the comprehension and construction of legal documents. An enormous amount of pages pass before his eyes every week. In addition, he works to help clients understand the sometimes complicated and difficult legal rhetoric of the documents.

Marc Friedman, the staff attorney at Access the Law under which Palacios works, says Palacios has shown high quality work.

“He’s a great worker. He really puts himself into it and goes above and beyond much of the time,” said Friedman.

These experiences within the spheres of both education and law are invaluable in the position of Constitution Court Justice. They certainly were considered during the hiring process. Palacios originally applied for a Senate seat, but when he was passed over for that position, the hiring committee inquired about his interest in the Constitution Court.

Lamar Wise said in a statement from Exec:

“Austin has proven to be an intelligent, hard-working individual that excels in communication and critical thinking. The hiring committee felt that his experience with interning for law firms and ability to maintain professional relationships made him the perfect candidate for the job. We hope by appointing him, Austin would bring a diverse and fair perspective to the Court.”

Palacios was confirmed by Senate at the Nov. 5 meeting

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Kaylee Tornay

Kaylee Tornay

Kaylee is the Emerald's 2015-2016 Hiring and Training Director. Formerly an ASUO reporter for the News Desk and writer for the Arts and Culture Desk, Kaylee has also interned for the Medford Mail Tribune and freelanced for the Bend Bulletin.
Ask her to discuss local journalism or for tips on throwing shade at people who take up too much room on the sidewalk.