Local judge’s races already decided
If you talk to enough lawyers, you begin to get a better understanding of the county’s legal system. I did just that last week when I spent about two hours talking with six of the seven people running for the Thurston County Superior Court.
All of them are lawyers of course because you have to be a lawyer to run for judge of the Superior Court.
Some of them I liked right away. And some of them I wouldn’t let babysit my kids. I’m not going to tell you who is who, but make you find out for yourself.
What I learned, is that the Thurston County Bar Association doesn’t represent all of the attorneys in Thurston County. It represents only those that are members – - and that’s not all of the lawyers in the county.
Some 250 lawyers in Thurston County work for the State Attorney General’s Office as assistant attorney generals. Most of them are not members of the Thurston County Bar Association.
Of the seven candidates running for the two open court seats, four are assistant attorney generals and most of them are not members of the Thurston County Bar Association.
So, when the bar polled its members as to who they supported for judge, none of the four assistant attorney generals running for those offices got many votes, and most got none.
Consequently, the four assistant attorney generals put little stock in the closed voting process of the Thurston County Bar Association – - and neither should you. By its very nature, it limits who will get to vote and who will get the votes.
The other thing I learned is that many of our current superior court judges got on the bench, first, by appointment.
When a judge’s seat becomes vacant, the position is often filled by appointment. Candidates serving as court commissioner or family court judge – - non-elected positions – - are often selected to fill the vacancies. That’s the way many of our current judges first got on the bench.
Our current system of electing judges for the superior court, leaves out some 250 lawyers working for government, who are not appointed judges and who are not members of the local bar association.
How can they win when the deck is stacked against them?
They can’t. That’s why the judge’s races are almost over already.
Just don’t tell our four assistant attorney generals who are running for election as your judge. They still think they can win.