Judging the judges
With all eight of the Thurston County Superior Court Judges up for re-election this year, perhaps it’s time to review some of their more “interesting” judgements.
First up is Chris Wickham. Wickham ruled that radio DJ’s who push a particular political agenda must register with the Public Disclosure Commission. His ruling was unanimously overturned by the Washington State Supreme Court. But, you get the picture. Wickham doesn’t like conservative talk radio.
Then we have the case of Paula Casey. It was Casey who let two bank robbers off because she said that no one had made the case that a credit union was a bank. That ruling made her the laughing stock of the state.
Our newest judge is Ann Hirsch but it hasn’t taken her long to get her “liberal” feet wet. Hirsch ruled that emails sent by government officials on government time from government computers didn’t fall under the government’s open records act and could be destroyed. Her ruling drew rebukes from every major newspaper in the state.
Tom McPhee ruled that the Washington Education Association, despite spending millions of dollars to defeat anti-school initiatives, was NOT a political action committee. McPhee said that WEA’s expenditures of millions of dollars wasn’t “meaningful in relationship to its multi-million dollar budget.”
Christine Pomeroy ruled that local school districts were required to fund teacher pay increases approved by the state legislature, even though the legislature didn’t fund those increases and the additional money would have to come from taxpayer approved levies.
But not all judges on our county bench are liberals, it just seems like it. Gary Tabor, one of our more “conservative” judges, fined the Washington Education Association $19,000 for using members fees to fund political events.
What makes these cases significant is because Thurston County is the location of the State Capitol. Many lawsuits filed against the state are filed in Thurston County. Consequently, many of the rulings our local judges make have significant impact on the state.
And, from all appearances, most of these judges will run for re-election unopposed. Oh- the pity of it.
(A similar article appeared in the April 2008 edition of Ken’s Corner & The Real News.)