Trial attorney Stan Rumbaugh would be a welcome, progressive alternative to Justice Jim Johnson, a conservative judge whose most enduring legacy on the court was a ruling upholding the state's ban on gay marriage.
Over his six years on the court, Johnson has compared gay marriage to polygamy, voted in favor of dismantling state disability law, sided with banks that gouged consumers with excessive fees, and sided with negligent companies over injured workers. In 2009, Johnson wrote a lone dissenting opinion favoring the rights of minors to own handguns. In 2006, he disagreed with the rest of the court on a case upholding the federal Defense of Marriage Act, arguing that their ruling did not go far enough to establish that marriage could only be between a man and a woman. And he has supported various anti-transit, pro-roads, and anti-tax proposals, including Bellevue developer Kemper Freeman's efforts to open HOV lanes to all cars, and Tim Eyman's initiatives to cut taxes and restrict government spending.
Like his colleague Richard Sanders, Johnson is also deep in the pockets of the Building Industry Association of Washington, the builders' lobby group. In 17 Supreme Court cases in which the BIAW filed amicus or friend of the court briefs, Johnson sided with the lobby 16 times.
Rumbaugh, though he lacks judicial experience, would be a vast improvement over angry conservative Johnson. An attorney for 31 years, Rumbaugh has served on the board of Planned Parenthood and Tacoma Housing Authority, and has the endorsements of the League of Education Voters, Equal Rights Washington, the Washington Education Association, and NARAL Pro-Choice Washington. PubliCola picks Stan Rumbaugh.
EDITOR'S NOTE: The primary is a key date for Washington State Supreme Court races. If there are only two candidates, as in this race, the candidate who receives a majority of the vote wins.
In races with more than two candidates, such as the Sanders vs. Wiggins matchup, if any candidate receives more than 50 percent of the primary vote, that candidate moves on, unchallenged, to the general.