In a June 3rd article published by the Tacoma News Tribune found candidates for our highest court and incumbent justice, Barbara Madsen, opining on the Supreme Court’s ruling in McCleary, John Scannell fired-off a letter to the News Tribune calling the comments by candidates and justice alike as inappropriate and violations of the code of judicial conduct.
I read with amazement today your article on what the six other candidates for the Washington State Supreme Court said with respect to McCleary, charter schools etc. These are supposedly “ethical” attorneys and judges who are running for the most prestigious judicial position in the state. You would think that they would at a minimum, follow the rules of judicial conduct right?
I draw your attention to Code of Judicial Conduct Rule 2.10
(A) A judge shall not make any public statement that would reasonably be expected to affect the outcome or impair the fairness of a matter pending or impending in any court, or make any nonpublic statement would be expected to substantially interfere with a fair trial or hearing.
Isn’t this exactly what these judges and attorneys did in your article? Isn’t it true that one of the reasons the three challengers interviewed were recruited was so they could affect the McCleary decision? Isn’t it true that the three challengers played into this scenario by explaining why they question the McCleary decision? Didn’t the three incumbents also play directly into this unethical discussion by assuring the voters that nothing is wrong with McCleary and even gave a hint as to what kind of arguments they would favor as McCleary plays out?
Same with Charter schools. While it may be true the decision has been made, it is highly likely it will be revisited in some form. So why are they talking about it?
Candidate for Supreme Court Position No. 4