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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

September 5, 2014 at 11:28 AM

McCleary case: Former governors meddling in judiciary branch

I was disappointed to read the guest column from two former governors, Chris Gregoire and John Spellman, presuming to tell the Washington Supreme Court how to rule on whether the state is meeting its constitutional duty to fund K-12 education [“Former governors on why Supreme Court should tread carefully in McCleary education case,” Opinion, Sept. 1].

As both are attorneys, both should be aware of their ethical duty to respect the impartiality and decorum of the judiciary. Effectively, their column implied justices might not obey their oaths of office unless instructed to do so by former officeholders. It added no benefit whatsoever to a case to be decided on the facts and the law. Further, as the court unanimously ruled the Washington Constitution was violated during Gov. Gregoire’s tenure, I believe she has a particular duty to refrain from any “ex parte” effort (beyond the brief she and her fellow former governors filed in observance of court procedure) to influence the judiciary on this matter.

Any jurist obeying his or her oath of office would treat such advice as birdcage lining. As Rule 2.4 of the Code of Judicial Conduct states, “A judge shall not be swayed by public clamor, or fear of criticism.”

Brendan Williams, Olympia

Comments | Topics: McCleary decision, washington state legislature, Washington state Supreme Court

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