To run or not to run, that is the question.
By Richard Sanders
Should I run for re-election to the Court?
Justice Tom Chambers announced he is not going to run for reelection this year, which creates a rare open seat on the Court.
When I look at the other two candidates who have announced, I have concerns about their political background and ambitions.
There's Judge Bruce Hilyer of the King County Superior Court and twice losing candidate for King County Executive; and John Ladenburg, formally Pierce County Prosecutor and Executive, and two time losing candidate for Attorney General.
Frankly, I can't vote for either.
- Neither has any appellate court experience as a judge and little as an attorney. By contrast, I served 15 years on the Supreme Court and handled about 100 appeals before going there.
- I heard over 2,000 cases and wrote more than 600 opinions of the highest quality, they wrote none.
- I published in law reviews and professional texts (one of which is used as course material at Harvard Law School.) As far as I can tell, they published little or nothing of the kind.
Both ran for partisan office (and lost) before running for the Court. Judge Hilyer was defeated twice running as a Democrat for King County Executive before running for the bench. Mr. Ladenburg was whipped by Rob McKenna in his most recent race for attorney general before announcing for the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court should not be a consolation prize for defeated partisan politicians, but a place for a dedicated member of a nonpartisan judiciary with principles and ideals independent of the government.
I cannot think of a single member of the current court who first ran for partisan political office. After all, an independent judiciary is independent from the executive and legislative branch and must, foremost, protect the rights of private citizens under attack by those other branches. At least that's how I made decisions.
Mr. Ladenburg's political career showed contempt for the private citizens as he ridiculed judges who stood by them. Judge Hilyer has imposed numerous user fees on private citizens who tried to access the King County Superior Court.
In contrast, Justice Chambers has written extensively on the burden this kind of fee has unfairly caused to the most needy.
An independent and accessible judiciary is a priority we pay taxes for, not, for example, a billion dollars worth of professional sports stadiums. Judges should be proud of our judiciary and fight for it, not accommodate politicians who want to balance their bloated budgets on the backs of private citizens seeking justice in our courts.
But whether I should run again is another question.
You can go online now to let your opinion be heard.
I don't need a government job. The question is what does the Court need? What do the citizens of Washington need?
But what do you think? Should I run?
That's the question that I need answered.
Let me know, today. Click here.
Importantly, if you want me to run, are you willing to help out? Raising money is a must. I will need endorsements and volunteers to hold and display yard signs. I would need help setting up events or getting a speaking invitation.
In addition to myself, the Supreme Court has lost or is about to lose the very judges most protective of individual rights: Justice Alexander retired last year and Justice Chambers will not run again.
I want as many people participating in this decision as possible.
There will not be another chance. It's now or never.
Should I run?