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Chief Justice Madsen: ‘Justice blind but we don’t usually turn off lights’

Post by Brad Shannon / The Olympian on May 14, 2013 at 5:10 pm | No Comments »
May 14, 2013 5:18 pm
Chief Justice Barbara Madsen
Chief Justice Barbara Madsen

Asking the Supreme Court to shed light on matters was given new layers of meaning Tuesday. An electrical problem in the Temple of Justice was causing a shorting-out of lights in the high court’s chambers, and the on-off aspect was a bit odd – even causing two justices to mention it, once during arguments.

“I want to apologize for the darkness earlier. Justice is blind but we usually don’t turn off the lights,” Chief Justice Barbara Madsen said after litigants concluded their arguments concluded Tuesday morning in an appeal of a $95 million judgment against the state in a Medicaid-payment case.

No one as yet has an answer to what is causing the lights to go out and then come back on without warning.

Jim Erskine, spokesman for the Department of Enterprise Services, which is the state’s landlord agency, said solutions to the problem were still being explored and the cause was not yet clear. But it appeared the problem was triggered by overheating and not electrical surges, and the problem was thought to originate in the Law Library, Erskine said.

“It looks like we’re still trying to troubleshoot this. We appreciate the importance of getting this resolved as soon as possible,” Erskine added.

A circuit breaker on order is expected to arrive Wednesday and crews expect to put it in to see if it fixes the problem.

The court’s bailiff, Timothy Schiewe, said the problem has been ongoing for about three weeks and only in the court chambers.

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