The Moderate Washingtonian

Outlook on politics and elections in the state of Washington from an overall centrist viewpoint. My views tend to be libertarian in nature, but at the same time are largely nonpartisan.

25 November 2005

Conservative judicial PAC -- Seattle PI

Today's Seattle PI covered a new state PAC with the goal of electing conservatives to the state Supreme Court and courts of appeals. Much of the article was trying to act like this is some attack on the judiciary and to show how awful this development is. I'm not necessarily looking forward to an organized movement to put conservatives on the Supreme Court, either, but it seems as if the PI is making a mountain of a molehill. First off, an organization run by moderate Republicans like Slade Gorton and Ken Eikenberry is probably not "right-wing." Gorton has a long record of social moderation, and in any year other than 1992, Eikenberry would have beaten Mike Lowry and become governor (consequently, voters got what they deserved in that election). In this case, the PI needs to realize that "Republican" does not always equal "right-wing." Secondly, having ideological divides in judicial races is no new thing. Everybody knew who was the conservative and who was the liberal in both of the contested Supreme Court elections in 2004. Nobody is going to mix up Justice Sanders with anybody.

This said, the PI does make some good points. Notably in quoting ex-Justice Phil Talmadge about the risk of making candidates to the judiciary behave as partisans with an agenda rather than being expected to remain unbiased and independent. Also, any PAC that refers to state Sen. Stephen Johnson as "very much a centrist" has a compass in need of realignment (the man has a lifetime score of 100% from the Washington Conservative Union, case closed).

In short, I doubt this new PAC is anything to worry about, and the Supreme Court could probably use a little more balance, but in the end, voters will still have the up or down vote on this organization's candidates and that's what really matters.


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