- Associated Press - Saturday, December 20, 2014

SEATTLE (AP) - A group of lawmakers peeved at the Washington Supreme Court has filed a bill that would turn races for the state’s high court into partisan contests.

The measure is meant as a rebuke over what the 19 representatives see as the court’s overreach in ordering the state to increase education spending by billions of dollars, and for holding the Legislature in contempt for not doing more to comply, The Seattle Times reported (https://is.gd/BqNo0r ).

House Bill 1051 says that “because the supreme court has decided to act like the legislature and has thus violated the separation of powers, the supreme court should be considered partisan like the legislature.”

The bill’s chief sponsor, Republican Richard DeBolt, of Chehalis, insisted that the justices should be honest about their political leanings.

“The justices decided they would tell the Legislature how to fund education, which not only creates a problem with our separation of powers, but also means they will be making political decisions,” DeBolt said in a statement. “Those making political decisions should be required to tell the people which party they most affiliate with so voters can decide what kind of outcomes they desire from their Supreme Court.”

Among the other sponsors are three Democrats, including Rep. Hans Dunshee of Snohomish, who said it’s more of a “poke” than a serious proposal.

State Supreme Court Chief Justice Barbara Madsen said the court does not support the proposed legislation.

“The judiciary plays a critical role in society through applying the laws and the constitution to resolve disputes,” she wrote in an email to the newspaper. “Justice must not be influenced by politics when deciding cases that effect Washingtonians.”

David Postman, a spokesman for Gov. Jay Inslee, said the governor too opposes it.

“This may be a bill meant only to send a message, but injecting partisanship into the court is not an answer to anything,” he said.

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Information from: The Seattle Times, https://www.seattletimes.com


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