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November 15, 2011 at 11:57 AM

Steven C. González named to state Supreme Court

Steven C. González

Gov. Christine Gregoire named King County Superior Court Judge Steven González to the state Supreme Court Tuesday, replacing the retiring Justice Gerry Alexander.

In brief remarks at the Temple of Justice in Olympia, González noted he cleaned park bathrooms while growing up in California and said he wanted to renew a belief that the “rule of law matters.”

Gregoire, in making the announcement, called González “exceptionally well qualified” for the job, citing his experience as a judge, prosecutor and private attorney.

She called him a “very good listener,” who as a judge always has had a “thorough understanding of the issues” before him.

González also appreciates that people expect to be treated fairly and impartially by the courts, Gregoire said.

González will be only the second justice of Hispanic heritage to serve on the state’s high court, court spokeswoman Wendy Ferrell told The Associated Press.

Charles Z. Smith, who was the state’s first ethnic minority on the court, was appointed in 1988 and served until 2002 when he stepped down after reaching the state’s mandatory retirement age of 75. Smith is an African-American of Cuban descent.

González, who was appointed to the Superior Court bench by former Gov. Gary Locke in March 2002, won a contested election the same year. He was re-elected in 2004 and 2008.

Currently a criminal department judge, González also has served in the civil and family law departments.

Before his appointment to the bench, González served as an assistant U.S. attorney in Seattle, covering the Western District of Washington. He was part of a prosecution team that won a federal terrorism conviction against Ahmed Ressam in 2001 stemming from a millennium bomb plot.

Previously, he served as a domestic-violence prosecutor for the City of Seattle and worked as an associate in the business law department at the Seattle law firm Hillis Clark Martin & Peterson.

He earned a bachelor’s degree with honors in East Asian Studies from Pitzer College and his law degree from the University of California at Berkeley School of Law, known as Boalt Hall, where he was the Technical Editor of La Raza Law Journal.

Alexander, who joined the court in 1994, is retiring at the end of the year.

Comments | More in General news, Government | Topics: Gov. Chris Gregoire, Olympia, Seattle

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