Inslee’s Judicial Appointees Virtually Unopposed On Ballot

By Austin Jenkins

The Washington Supreme Court has its first openly gay, Asian-American, Latina justice. Former King County Superior Court Judge Mary Yu was sworn-in Tuesday. Yu will run in November to finish out the term of retiring Justice Jim Johnson. Like a lot of appointed judges this year, Yu faces no opposition on the ballot.

Yu took the oath in Washington’s Temple of Justice.

Mary Yu: “…do solemnly swear…”

Afterwards, she expressed some relief that she won’t face an opponent in the fall election.

Mary Yu: “I would like to believe that it’s because I’m a trial court judge with 14 years of experience that people would say ‘you know what this is a legitimate person who maybe deserves an opportunity.’”

Another factor may have been the short timeline between Yu’s appointment by Governor Jay Inslee and the deadline for candidates to file for office. Court-watcher Alex Hayes views the lack of a candidate to challenge Yu as a missed opportunity.

Alex Hayes: “Generally the opportunity to challenge an appointed judge is at that moment that they were appointed and in two years Judge Yu will frankly more difficult to defeat at the ballot box than she is today.”

Hayes helped elect Justice Jim Johnson who was widely viewed as the lone conservative on the Washington Supreme Court. Nineteen of Governor Inslee’s appointments to the bench are on the ballot this fall, but only one faces a challenger.

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