There is much to like about Justice Richard Sanders. He’s a charming and relentless populist. You can see it in all his decisions – voting with the majority when they agree with these views, dissenting when they don’t. Sanders really sticks to his guns.
But that better describes an advocate than a judge, and the distinction is critical. The “rule of law” entitles citizens to an assurance that the outcome of cases turns so far as possible not on the personal views of the judge but on principles laid down by the Legislature in a governing statute or fairly emerging from a controlling line of judicial decision. This requires discipline, impartiality and neutrality — qualities less likely to mark a committed partisan like Sanders.
So I am going to vote for Charlie Wiggins. A distinguished practitioner, he has also taken leadership roles in an endless series of task forces, committees and working groups seeking to improve our legal institutions. Beyond his bar association work, Wiggins has given back to the community in many ways, including lectures in schools, churches, universities and community groups.
Nationally, Wiggins is known for his tireless contributions to the improvement of justice. Perhaps most importantly, he does not seek a Supreme Court position so he can be an advocate; he seeks the position so he can be a judge. Our citizens deserve nothing less.
(Andersen is the Judson Falknor professor of law, emeritus, at the University of Washington School of Law.)