Governor Christine Gregoire today appointed state Court of Appeals Judge Debra Stephens to the Washington State Supreme Court. She replaces retiring Justice Bobbe Bridge. Stephens will have to stand for election next November.
Debra Stephens is from eastern Washington and gives eastern Washington representation on the Washington State Supreme Court. The last judge from eastern Washington was former Chief Justice Richard Guy who retired in 2000. And her appointment keeps the 5 to 4 male/female makeup of the court.
Only 7 months ago Gregoire appointed Stephens to the appellate court. She ran unopposed in the November election.
In selecting Stephens, Gregoire bypassed several people who previously ran for Supreme Court. These included Mary Kay Becker, an appellate judge in Bellingham and Hugh Spitzer, a Seattle constitutional law professor and attorney with Foster Pepper. Both are highly qualified candidates. Also under consideration had been King County Superior Court Judge Mary Yu.