You can learn a lot talking with lawyers
You can learn a lot talking with lawyers. You can learn a lot about politics talking with candidates who are running for office. You can learn a lot about our legal system by talking with candidates running to be judges on the Thurston County Superior Court bench.
I had the opportunity recently to talk with six of the seven candidates seeking election as judge.
All of them are lawyers of course. You have to be a lawyer in this state to be a judge.
Some of them I liked right away. Some of them I wouldn’t let babysit my grandkids.
I learned that the Thurston County Bar Association doesn’t represent all of the lawyers in Thurston County. It only represents those who are members and that’s not all the lawyers in Thurston County.
Some 250 lawyers in Thurston County work for state government as assistant attorney generals, and most of them are not members of the Thurston County Bar Association.
And, of the seven candidates running for superior court this year, four of them are assistant attorney generals and are not necessarily members of the Thurston County Bar Association.
So, when the bar polled its members on their opinion on who should be on the superior court bench, none of the four assistant attorney generals made the list, because most of them are not members.
Consequently, the four assistant attorney generals running for judge put little stock in the closed voting process of the Thurston County Bar Association.
Most of our superior court judges are not originally elected to the seats. According to retired Chief Justice of the Washington State Supreme Court Gerry Alexander, nearly half of all judges are appointed to their seats by the governor of the state.
When a seat becomes vacant the governor appoints someone to fill the vacancy. She or he, has to run for re-election to the seat, but has a leg, or two, up on her competition.
So – - here’s what I learned about lawyers and the court. The bar association poll is a closed voting bloc, which tends to favor its own members. It doesn’t represent hundreds of local lawyers.
And, more that half of our judges were first appointed to their seats.
The come away – - don’t put much stock in the bar association poll, and don’t let incumbency be a reason to vote for someone.