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Sheryl Gordon McCloud is third candidate for vacant Supreme Court seat

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on March 13, 2012 at 11:15 am |
March 13, 2012 11:05 am

Appellate lawyer Sheryl Gordon McCloud will run for the state’s highest court, seeking to replace retiring Justice Tom Chambers.

Sheryl Gordon McCloud

She is the third candidate in the race, making it likely the election won’t be decided until November. A Supreme Court candidate has to receive a majority of the votes in the August primary to eliminate the other candidates; otherwise, the top two proceed to the general election.

The growing field includes former Pierce County Executive John Ladenburg and King County Superior Court Judge Bruce Hilyer. Former Justice Richard Sanders is also considering a run.

McCloud, who lives on Bainbridge Island and works in Seattle, is familiar with the Temple of Justice where the Supreme Court meets. She said she has argued cases in front of the court for two decades.

A specialist in appeals cases, McCloud won a prominent case last year when a federal appeals court ordered a new trial for her client, a former speaker of the Alaska state House who had been convicted on corruption charges.

Here’s her news release:

Sheryl Gordon McCloud Enters Race for Supreme Court

Seattle – Attorney Sheryl Gordon McCloud has entered the race for the Washington Supreme Court, Position 9.  McCloud will bring two decades worth of experience in handling cases before the Washington Supreme Court, as well as every other appellate court in the state of Washington, to the job.

McCloud has spent her career seeking justice for those who are least able to assert their own constitutional rights.  In one of her first volunteer cases, in the 1980’s, she co-authored a friend-of-the-court brief in the U.S. Supreme Court. She argued in support of a state law that protected the pregnancy disability rights of working women, and against the efforts of a Savings & Loan Association to cut back on those rights.  The Supreme Court agreed with her position; it upheld the state pregnancy disability leave law.  In one of her most recent cases, decided this past year, she exposed the government misconduct that led to improper convictions of the former Speaker of the Alaska House of Representatives.  The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals agreed, and reversed the convictions.

McCloud’s main goal as a Justice on the Washington Supreme Court is to apply legal and constitutional protections equally, to everyone who comes before the Court.  She will be a Justice for all.

McCloud’s life story shaped her commitment to equal rights.  She is a product of the public school system; she graduated at the top of her high school class; and she graduated with honors from the State University of New York at Buffalo.  But it was not until she spent five years in the work force, finally achieving the job of legal secretary, that McCloud decided she had the ability to do what her bosses were doing and applied to law school.

She graduated from the University of Southern California School of Law in 1984, in the top 2% of her class.  She has worked as a public defender; in a large law firm; and in her own small law firm.  In addition to her law practice, she has also taught at Seattle U Law School as an adjunct professor. She also devotes hundreds of hours of legal work to indigent litigants.

McCloud has specialized in appellate cases, making sure that trials were conducted properly and that all parties – no matter what their resources – were treated fairly. Her devotion to justice is recognized by her peers.  They have awarded her the prestigious “William O. Douglas Award” for “extraordinary courage and dedication to the practice of criminal law.”

McCloud has authored numerous legal publications and teaches Continuing Legal Education classes to practicing attorneys throughout the state.  She is a member of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, a founding member of the Washington Appellate Lawyers Association, and is the long-time Co-Chair of the Amicus Committee with the Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and Vice-Chair of the Amicus Committee of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

McCloud lives in Kitsap County with her husband, her younger high-school age son, and her cat.  She enjoys biking and boxing classes.

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