Washington State Supreme Court
The candidates vying for the Supreme Court Justice Position 9 both profess a firm commitment to protecting individual rights under the state's constitution. How they go about that defense in practice has differed, in both the types of cases each notes as background and their manner.
Richard Sanders was defeated in a 2010 re-election bid and now seeks to return to the state's highest bench. He describes himself as a fierce independent with what could be called a libertarian streak in his Supreme Court opinions on taxpayer issues, free speech and property rights. Sanders served three terms on that bench, though became noteworthy in recent years for controversial statements on race and a public criticism of a former U.S. Attorney General.
Sheryl Gordon McCloud comes from an appellate court and criminal law background, and her personal experience with the Supreme Court is arguing cases in front of the body. She secured a new trial for a man sentenced to death row by proving evidence had been wrongfully suppressed, most notably, and points to her record of protecting the rights of women, minorities and the poor who can be unfairly "caught up" and have rights deprived the justice system. She's practiced as a public defender, a role both candidates say needs more support to ensure justice for all.
In the past this page has supported Sanders for his work on behalf of freedom of speech and other demonstrations of independence. But his 2010 defeat and the questions surrounding his professional conduct make McCloud the better choice. The Bainbridge Island resident, who practices in Seattle, demonstrated intelligence and evenhanded disagreement when the candidates debated, a personality trait we think is crucial. Her recent experience arguing before the court gives her a unique perspective, and her criminal background is a good addition to the current court.
We support adding a fresh, knowledgeable and fair voice to the court rather than bringing back a member who was defeated in recent memory, and we support Sheryl Gordon McCloud for position 9.
The race to replace David Armstrong on the Court of Appeals District 2, based in Tacoma, pits Thomas Bjorgen and Pamela Loginsky, both attorneys with a range of legal and trial experience that are relevant in a position charged with protecting appeals from county Superior Court and other civil matters.
Loginsky, a Port Orchard resident and former Navy Corpsman, leans heavily on a prosecutorial background and cites criminal matters as the most pressing issues for the court. She touts an ability to work quickly with a heavy caseload, and experience arguing before the appellate court.
Bjorgen, currently an Assistant Attorney General, has worked in private practice, the Thurston County Prosecutor's Office and as the hearing examiner for the city of Olympia. He draws from a broad background of community experience outside the law, and is an effective communicator on what can be complicated subjects.
In a race between two intelligent and capable candidates, our board gives a narrow edge to Bjorgen, based on a more diverse background as an attorney. The Court of Appeals, one of three in the state, deals with issues that may include land use, civil litigation, or family disputes that move up the appellate ladder. Bjorgen's legal experience on issues other than criminal make him a better fit than Loginsky on the six-member District 2, which already has judges who have worked primarily from the prosecutor's side. Thomas Bjorgen earns our endorsement for the Court of Appeals, District 2, Position 2 seat.
Jennifer Forbes was one of two candidates we endorsed in the primary for Kitsap County Superior Court Judge Court 7. Forbes impressed our board with her legal background, community understanding and ability to clearly state her opinions and priorities for the position. She advanced to face Karen Klein in the general election.
The two other primary candidates have since endorsed Forbes, and nothing in the campaign has changed our board's mind from our earlier endorsement. Forbes is a clear choice as the most prepared, thoughtful and qualified candidate. We reaffirmed our endorsement of Jennifer Forbes for Kitsap Superior Court Judge, Court 7.