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Election Archives » Ratings & Endorsements » Newspaper Endorsements »

The Stranger




Primary Election Endorsements (Judicial Excerpt)

Stranger Election Control Board

State Supreme Court

Justice Position 3: Mary Fairhurst

Underqualified right-wing challenger Michael Bond (who believes that "the most important role of the courts is to protect the people from the power of government") made this choice easy by refusing to meet with the Stranger Election Control Board—and by pompously referring to himself in the third person on his campaign website ("In Bond's opinion..."). But sunny, brainy incumbent Justice Mary Fairhurst has more than earned a second term on the state's high court.

Fairhurst wrote the supreme court's most rigorously reasoned dissent in the marriage equality case Andersen v. King County, easily dismantling the state's claim that denying marriage to gays and lesbians in any way promotes procreation or encourages straight people to get married. On a case where so many of her colleagues proved themselves sniveling, cowardly bigots, Fairhurst came out swinging. Plus, she's weirdly obsessive about a person's privacy interest in his or her DNA. Considering how much DNA we've got lying around the office, we find that comforting. Vote for Fairhurst.

Justice Position 4: Charles W. Johnson

Incumbent Justice Charles Johnson joined the bigoted plurality in the all-important Andersen v. King County gay-marriage case, on the grounds that the state legislature can make up whatever mush-minded excuses it likes to discriminate against a minority. And he didn't have much to say in defense of that vote in our endorsement interview.

Unfortunately, Johnson's opponents include a flaky no-show named Frank Vuilliet, who scored the coveted "not qualified" rating from both the liberal King County Bar Association and the prissy Municipal League and a slightly more-qualified Seattle insurance attorney named James Beecher, who told us that Andersen "should embarrass the court." But some of Beecher's more widely circulated beliefs ("The responsibility of the court is to interpret and clarify the law, not to legislate") suggest he would be to the right of Johnson on issues that come before the court more frequently than marriage equality. Beecher's main complaint about Johnson is that he's been on the court too long. To which the SECB says: So?

Besides, Johnson isn't completely irredeemable. He ruled to give custody rights to a nonbiological lesbian mother in another touchstone gay-rights case, and we like his positions on public disclosure and privacy issues. He told us he was especially proud of an opinion he wrote in 1994 involving a warrantless search of a suspected marijuana grow house, which helped establish that Washington's privacy laws go further than the ones in the federal constitution. Vote for Johnson. Because someone's got to look out for your dealer.

King County Superior Court

Superior Court races in which one candidate gets more than 50 percent will be decided in the primary.

Superior Court Position 1: Tim Bradshaw

Currently serving as senior deputy prosecuting attorney for King County, Tim Bradshaw stands out from a field of three highly qualified contenders for his long list of endorsements and 20 years of experience.

Superior Court Position 10: Jean Bouffard

Bouffard's opponents are another prosecuting attorney whose major accomplishments include expanding the use of DNA evidence, and a current municipal court judge. Although all three are qualified, we're endorsing Bouffard for her experience dealing with civil cases and her extensive knowledge of environmental and land-use law.

Superior Court Position 22: Holly Hill

We like Holly Hill because she's a badass former federal civil-rights attorney and a current judge pro tempore in King County District Court. Although we're concerned by the fact that she's dumped more than $85,000 of her own money into the race, we think Hill will make a capable judge (and that out-of-control spending is a great argument for public financing of elections).

Superior Court Position 26: Laura Middaugh

Laura Middaugh is a decent incumbent Superior Court judge who had the good fortune of drawing an unqualified opponent whose main reason for running appears to be a personal vendetta against Middaugh's husband, state senator Adam Kline.

Superior Court Position 37: Jean Rietschel

There's almost unanimous agreement that Jean Rietschel, a Seattle Municipal Court Commissioner for the last 12 years, is exceptionally well qualified. We agree.

Superior Court Position 53: Mariane Spearman

If there's an underdog in this race it's Mariane Spearman. We love an underdog, especially when the gay lawyers and the black lawyers and the Latino lawyers love her, too.

See also The Stranger's Complete Primary Endorsements, P.O. Box 1460, Silverdale, WA  98383
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