Archived Version: August 7, 2012

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Supreme Court Justice Position 2: Susan Owens

Justice Susan Owens is a seasoned badass who's been warming benches for so long in Washington that her ass is riddled with bedsores shaped like the state seal. Owens sided with the minority of pro-gay-marriage justices in 2006, she secured greater consumer protections against internet spammers, and she's endorsed by all eight of her colleagues.

One of her challengers, Scott Stafne, weakly insists, "I just think the supreme court needs a fresh voice." We disagree. Vote Owens.

Supreme Court Justice Position 8: Steve Gonzalez

Because of the weird rules for judicial contests, this race will be decided in the August primary. WE REPEAT: THIS SUPER-IMPORTANT RACE WILL BE DECIDED IN THE AUGUST PRIMARY, SO VOTE. OR WE'LL KILL YOU. State supreme court justice Steve Gonzalez is a highly qualified former terrorism prosecutor and former King County Superior Court judge who was appointed to the state supreme court in November of last year by Governor Gregoire. Gonzalez's challenger? A little-known Kitsap County lawyer who has lost three recent runs for local office and is totally unqualified for the high court—but who might actually win because of his amazingly Anglo-Saxon name: Bruce Danielson.

Matt Barreto, a pollster at the University of Washington, warns that "minority candidates, all other things being equal, are evaluated less favorably by the voters." And in judicial races that people don't follow, all things are equal, and many voters will just pick the guy with the white last name.

Sound far-fetched? It's happened before in these highly consequential, but little-noticed races. Vote Gonzalez.

Supreme Court Justice Position 9: Bruce Hilyer

This race features the return of disgraced former justice Richard B. Sanders, who voters booted off the high court in 2010 amid charges that Sanders made racist statements and showed unforgivable hypocrisy (he voted against same-sex marriage because he said gays have "more sexual partners," but it turned out that Sanders himself had multiple simultaneous girlfriends). Whatever you do, don't vote for that cherry-picking asshole.

The hard truth, however, is that Sanders will probably get through the primary. Who's best positioned to beat Sanders in the general? Not Sheryl McCloud, who misguidedly donated $700 to Sanders in 2010. No, the best shot at keeping Sanders off the bench is current King County Superior Court judge Bruce Hilyer, who was rated "exceptionally well qualified" by multiple groups and was named the 2010 Judge of the Year by the King County Bar Association. Vote Hilyer.


Positions 25, 29, 30, and 46:
Elizabeth Berns, Sean O'Donnell, Doug North,
and Judy Ramseyer

These are hugely important races that almost no one—except us! And the indispensable! Check it out!—pays attention to.

We recommend: lesbian litigator and pro-tem judge Elizabeth Berns for Position 25, prosecutor Sean O'Donnell for Position 29, incumbent King County Superior Court judge Doug North for Position 30, and civil rights champion Judy Ramseyer for Position 46.

Position 42: Sue Parisien

We're breaking out this endorsement from our other superior court races because it's different. King County Superior Court judge Christopher Washington, who's held this seat for eight years, came in dead last in every single category of a recent survey filled out by local attorneys. His lowest score was for legal decision-making (where he scored a 2.7 rating out of 5), according to the King County Bar Association. And that's not an anomaly: He was ninth from the bottom of all 53 justices on the King County Superior Court in 2007. Those ratings alone aren't enough to disqualify Judge Washington, but they sure give us pause.

Washington claims disgruntled prosecutors, who oppose his leniency to young offenders in juvenile court, tanked his ratings. But we don't quite buy that reasoning. Another judge in the same juvenile court, Michael Trickey, got the highest rating for legal decision-making of all 53 judges on the bench and has been plenty fair to young offenders. Instead it seems that Judge Washington has simply ignored the law in too many cases and legitimately upset attorneys—especially prosecutors—who expect judges to play by the rules.

His challengers are all capable, but Sue Parisien is the best. She's an advocate for treatment programs and diversion, Governor Gregoire has praised her, and the Municipal League gives her a "very good" rating. So do we. Vote Parisien., P.O. Box 1460, Silverdale, WA  98383
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