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September 12, 2006

Groen Breaks All Spending Records

$1,294,608.  That's what the BIAW and the PACs they control have spent to try to unseat WA Supreme Court Justice Gerry Alexander - who is a Republican!  Sheesh.  That alone tells you how radical John Groen is.  Sunday night, Goldy had a conversation with Jenny Durkin on KIRO about these three Supreme Court races.  She said that the previous record for money spent on a Supreme Court race was about $100,000.  These folks are playing for keeps here.  Steve Zemke at Majority Rules blog has researched the contributions for this race from all sources, using the PDC records and analysis from VotingforJudges.org, a new and wonderful website put up by Washington state judges.  It's good work.

The other thing I was struck by in Sunday's discussion with Jenny was that Groen was recruited to come to Washington to practice property rights law and to run for office up here.  Now he is backed up by $1.3 million.  This is a long-term campaign that will impact our quality of life  in major ways if we can't fight back properly. 

Plus, given our odd system of electing judges in the primary - if there are only two folks running, then one of them is going to get 50%, all that is required - it's the hard core folks who are electing our Supreme Court judges.  This is a perfect set-up to pull one over on the voters in an otherwise reliably blue state.  We have to make some changes here and fast.

Check out Steve's site for the details.

UPDATE:  Goldy has this YouTube video-clip up on this race.

Posted by Lynn Allen on September 12, 2006 at 10:22 AM in Candidate Races | Permalink


I have the fact that our Supreme Court Justices are elected. The whole idea behind having a Supreme Court is that they are to be shielded from the public opinion of the time.
I know that the constitution calls for election of judges, if I had my way they would be appointed by the governor for life terms.

Posted by: Mike Barer | Sep 13, 2006 9:45:16 AM

Agreed. Changing that has to be one of our next, if long-term, projects.

Posted by: Lynn | Sep 13, 2006 11:13:35 AM

If not appointed for life, have them appointed and then subject to retention elections. By that, I mean that, say, every 6 to 10 years, the voters would be asked whether the incumbent should remain in office. Just a simple yes/no, not a competition with someone(s) else. If the outcome is non-retention, the governor appoints a replacement.

Pennsylvania's system is sort of like that. Open seats on the court are filled by election, but after that comes a "merit retention" vote every 10 years. Actually, it's a bit confusing, as the governor can appoint (with Senate approval) judges and justices to fill out unexpired terms ... I don't know whether that appointed individual's next election is competitive or for merit retention (I think it's the latter, in which case only the completed terms of judges who choose to retire are filled in competitive elections).

Posted by: Neal Traven | Sep 14, 2006 12:11:00 AM

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