One of those lesser paid attention to judicial races this year is the re-election campaign of Washington State Court of Appeals Judge Mary Kay Becker. Two years ago she ran for the Washington State Supreme Court, only to be swamped under by special interest money from the BIAW.
Supreme Court Justice Jim Johnson won that race with the help of the Building Industry Association of Washington, which alone contributed more money to Jim Johnson than the total raised by Mary Kay Becker. And she raised over $158,000.
This year Mary Kay Becker is running for re-election to the Court of Appeals and is being challenged by a conservative pro-developer candidate named Jeff Teichert.
The Washington State Court of Appeals is comprised of 22 judges, elected to 6 year terms. Mary Kay Becker is running in Division 1, District 3, Position 1. This seat will be voted on by voters in Island, San Juan, Skagit, and Whatcom Counties.
Because there are only two candidates in this judicial race, the candidate who receives the majority of the votes in the Sept. 19th primary will be the winner.
The Bellingham Herald on Sunday endorsed Mary Kay Becker in an editorial entitled “Mary Kay Becker has proved her qualifications as a judge“, noting that
” What’s most important in this election, though, is Becker’s reputation as a reasonable, thoughtful appeals court judge. Her decisions have been well received and influential to higher courts. She is rated “exceptionally well qualified” by bar groups.
Becker’s record is the main issue in this election. She is challenged by Bellingham attorney Jeffrey Teichert, who says he is running because he feels that Becker and some of her colleagues are too “activist” in their decisions and don’t look to the original meaning of the Constitution and laws when they make their decisions.”
We respect Teichert, and enjoyed meeting him and hearing his ideas. We share some concern that courts too often go beyond the intent of legislation in their rulings. But we find little evidence that his view of Becker’s work is accurate. In our meeting with the candidates, Teichert pointed to a couple cases in which he felt the court Becker serves on went too far. But Becker pointed out, correctly, that the decisions he cites held up on appeal. That is not because they were “activist” and approved by other “activist” judges, but because they were well grounded in state legal precedent and in the spirit of the laws passed by the Legislature.
The Bellingham Herald in June noted that “Whatcom County Republican Party Chairman Bruce Ayers said Teichert’s campaign would be a focus this fall. “ They also report that “Seattle Times reporter David Postman on his blog, a campaign letter from Teichert made its way onto the Web site of the Faith and Freedom Network, which works to ‘advance Judeo-Christian values across the nation.’ “
Teichert has also been endorsed by former Senator Slade Gorton and her former Supreme Court opponent, now Justice Jim Johnson.
Meanwhile Mary Kay Becker has been endorsed by seven of the nine current Supreme Court Justices – Gerry L. Alexander, Chief Justice, Charles W. Johnson, Barbara Madsen, Tom Chambers, Bobbe Bridge, Susan Owens, and Mary Fairhurst. Also she has received the endorsement of 4 retired Justices: Richard Guy,Faith Ireland, C.Z. Smith, and Robert Utter.
Mary Kay Becker deserves our support. Personally I would like to see her run again for the Washington State Supreme Court. Until such time however we must get her re-elected to the Court of Appeals. You can help her by either volunteering or making a contribution to her campaign. Her website is http://www.reelectjudgebecker.com/