Judge Diarmuid O'Scannlain

Senior United States Circuit Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
Interviewed by Michael T. Reynolds

Watch the full video or read the transcript (PDF: 370.83 KB).

About the Interview

The interview was held on September 30, 2017, at NYU School of Law. It was conducted by Michael T. Reynolds, a partner at Cravath, Swaine, & Moore.


Judge Diarmuid O'Scannlain

Diarmuid O’Scannlain was appointed United States Circuit judge for the Ninth Circuit by President Reagan on September 26, 1986. He received a JD in 1963 from Harvard Law School and a BA in 1957 from St. John’s University. He also earned an LLM (Judicial Process) at University of Virginia Law School in 1992 and has been awarded three honorary doctorate degrees by other institutions since then. Judge O’Scannlain served as chair of the International Judicial Relations Committee of the United States Judicial Conference from 2010 to 2015, having been appointed by Chief Justice Roberts. As chair, he participated in Rule of Law programs in Singapore, Indonesia, Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, Italy, Malta, Ireland, Spain, Mexico, Turkey, Namibia, and South Africa. Judge O’Scannlain has been active in the American Bar Association, where he has served as chair of its judicial division and in numerous other ABA positions. 

Judge O’Scannlain is an adjunct professor at Lewis & Clark Law School, and teaches at numerous federal appellate seminars for judges and attorneys. The late-Chief Justice Rehnquist appointed him chair of the Federal Judicial Center’s Advisory Committee on Appellate Judge Education. Between graduation from Harvard and investiture as a federal judge, Judge O’Scannlain was engaged in private law practice, except from 1969 to 1974 when he was consecutively the deputy attorney general of Oregon, the public utility commissioner of Oregon, and director of the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality. He retired from the US Army Reserve in 1978 as a major after 23 years Reserve and National Guard service, including four years as an enlisted person. Judge O’Scannlain, a first generation Irish-American son of immigrant parents from Sligo and Derry, is married to Maura Nolan and has eight children: Sean, Jane, Brendan, Kevin, Megan, Christopher, Anne, and Kate and nineteen grandchildren. His chambers are in the Pioneer Courthouse in Portland, Oregon.

Video Excerpts

On getting nominated and confirmed


His judicial philosophy

On collegiality on the bench

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