A sixth-generation descendant of Oregon Trail pioneers, he was born and raised in the Willamette Valley. An Eagle Scout, he graduated magna cum laude from Warner Pacific University in 1984. Day studied at the Institute of Holy Land Studies in Jerusalem and Public Policy at Regent University before earning his Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from Willamette University College of Law in 1991.
Vance Day is an accomplished trial lawyer and a member of the Oregon State Bar, the United States District Court (Oregon & Colorado), the United States Court of Appeals (Ninth Circuit) and the United States Supreme Court, The Court of International Trade, The United States Tax Court, The Court of Federal Claims, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces. He has tried over 300 bench and jury trials.
Between May 2010 and August 2011, Day served as a Circuit Judge Pro Tempore in Oregon. In Sept. 2011, Day was appointed by Governor John Kitzhaber to serve as a Circuit Court Judge in the Third Judicial District. Day was then elected to a full six-year term in Nov. 2012.
In 2012, Judge Day and his Veterans Court team secured a $400,000 grant from the US Department of Justice to start a veteran’s treatment court in Salem, Oregon. The goal of these innovative courts was to target the root causes of veterans’ criminal behavior, such as homelessness, mental illness, and substance abuse, through a program tailored to address their needs created by the prosecutor, the defense attorney, the judge, other veterans, treatment providers, mentors and support teams. While Day was running the program, there was a zero-recidivism rate.
In 2014 Judge Day, based on his deeply-held Christian convictions, quietly recused himself from a non-judicial duty: marrying same-sex couples — a decision that in no way prevented same-sex couples from getting married. As a result, left-wing progressives launched a vicious but unsuccessful attack to drive him from the bench, cancel his law license, strip him of his possessions, ruin his reputation and even have him imprisoned.
As nationally syndicated radio host Lars Larson said, this attack was nothing less than a “jihad against Judge Vance Day.” Yet Vance maintained his innocence and kept his promise to his faith, his family and the Constitution. In Oct. 2018, the contrived case based upon an onslaught of lies and factual distortions against Vance collapsed when the State’s criminal case was resoundingly dismissed.
Upon completion of his term as a circuit court judge, Day was recruited by the board of the Christian men’s ministry Promise Keepers to help rebuild the organization. Day started as Chief Operating Officer and eventually was elevated to serve as President of Promise Keepers. Day worked tirelessly to advance the group’s mission to inspire men to step up and fulfill their vital role in the families, better support their wives and children, and to courageously live out Christ’s example in today’s broken world. Under his leadership, the organization was revitalized and ministered to hundreds of thousands of men, leading to positive change in families, churches and communities globally.
Most recently, Day has been traveling the length and breadth of Oregon on behalf of the James Madison Center for Free Speech, meeting with various organizations, churches, and community groups to discuss our constitutional liberties and how we can responsibly engage government overreach.
In 2000, Vance forged a close friendship with Band of Brothers Easy Company’s Don Malarkey and Buck Compton, which led to the production of a documentary on the battle which occurred at Brecourt Manor in Normandy during the D-Day invasion of WWII, traveling together for 10 years all through North America and Europe, even lecturing on leadership and history at the White House and before Members of Congress. Compton, who himself served for twenty years on the California Court of Appeals, served as a mentor who first encouraged Day to become Circuit Court Judge and spoke at Vance’s investiture just months before passing away in 2012.