washington supreme court

Tom Banse / NW News Network

Frustration with long delays in getting jobless benefits is boiling over into a lawsuit against the Washington State Employment Security Department. Attorneys representing two laid off workers and the nonprofit Unemployment Law Project filed the case directly with the state Supreme Court on Friday.

Courtesy: Office of Gov. Jay Inslee

For the first time in Washington history, a Black woman justice will serve on the Washington Supreme Court.

On Monday, Gov. Jay Inslee appointed Pierce County Superior Court Judge Helen Whitener to an open position vacated by Justice Charles Wiggins who recently retired. She was selected from an original list of 11 applicants.

“Judge Whitener inspires lawyers and non-lawyers alike with her relentless work to raise awareness for matters of race, justice and equity,” Inslee said in a statement.

Phil Thomas / asylumprojects.org - tinyurl.com/j28ogdb

Even as Washington Gov. Jay Inslee uses his emergency powers to restrict gatherings of more than 50 people and orders the closure of bars, restaurants and other gathering spaces for at least the next two weeks, state agencies are scrambling to implement emergency measures to protect their employees and those they serve from the rapid spread of coronavirus. 

Washington Legislature

In a 7-to-2 decision, the Washington Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that individual state lawmakers are subject to the state’s Public Records Act (PRA) and therefore must disclose records such as emails and calendars. 

In doing so, the high court upheld a lower court ruling and delivered a significant victory to media outlets that sued over access to lawmaker records. 

The public radio Northwest News Network was a plaintiff in the lawsuit which was led by the Associated Press. 

Courtesy Office of Gov. Jay Inslee

In a barrier-breaking appointment, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has selected a Whatcom County judge to serve as the first known Native American justice on the state Supreme Court since its founding in 1889.

Whatcom County Superior Court Judge Raquel Montoya-Lewis, 51, who is an enrolled member of the Pueblo of Isleta tribe of New Mexico, will replace Chief Justice Mary Fairhurst when she retires in January.

Courtesy Washington Supreme Court

The chief justice of the Washington state Supreme Court, Mary Fairhurst, will retire in January as she continues to battle her third bout of colon cancer since 2008. 

In a statement Thursday afternoon, Fairhurst said: "It is with a clear head and a sad heart that I have made the decision that it is time for me to leave the Court."

Washington Courts

Six years ago, Steven Gonzalez's last name likely cost him votes in his first race for the Washington Supreme Court. He won nonetheless.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

The Washington Supreme Court has ended the decade-old school funding case known as McCleary. The high court issued an order Thursday that said the state has complied with the mandate to fully fund its new system of basic education by September of this year.

Cacophony / Wikimedia

Two candidates for the Washington Supreme Court have been disqualified from appearing on the November ballot.

Washington Courts

Washington Supreme Court justices will be in northeastern Washington Tuesday to hear three cases in Nespelem, where the Confederated Tribes of the Colville are headquartered.

Washington Department of Corrections

A bipartisan effort to repeal the death penalty fell short in the Washington Legislature this year. But a separate effort to overturn the state's capital punishment statute through the courts is ongoing.

The constitutional challenge to the death penalty in Washington involves the case of Allen Eugene Gregory, 45, who was sentenced to die for the 1996 rape and murder of Geneine Harshfield in Tacoma.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

The Washington State Supreme Court has decided that it believes in second chances and rehabilitation in a case involving a former drug addict who transformed into a promising future attorney.

The high court ordered that Tarra Simmons of Bremerton, an honors law school graduate with a criminal past, can take the bar exam to become a licensed lawyer.

“I’m just overwhelmed,” Simmons said shortly after receiving news of the order. “I went to my knees crying because it’s been such a long and painful journey. “

Harvey Barrison / Flickr - tinyurl.com/zhj7uae

Washington state lawmakers will likely have to come up with an extra $1 billion for schools when they convene in January for the 2018 session.

The Washington Supreme Court issued a unanimous order Wednesday that said the state is not on track to fully fund public schools by a court-imposed deadline of September 1, 2018.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

The Washington Legislature enacted a new state property tax this year to shift the burden of school funding off local levies. But the question before the state Supreme Court Tuesday was whether Washington lawmakers fully funded schools as required by the court .

Aidan Wakely-Mulroney / Flickr - tinyurl.com/zwj3d3j

Teens who take an X-rated selfie and then text the image can be found guilty of trading in child pornography in some cases. That was the 6-3 ruling of the Washington Supreme Court on Thursday.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Lawmakers in Washington state had a fight so bad last month, they got together in a basement conference room Wednesday.

Anna Boiko-Weyrauch

The Washington State Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that a florist who declined to do flowers for a same-sex wedding broke the state’s anti-discrimination law. But the same-sex couple who won the case, isn’t celebrating too enthusiastically just yet.

Office of the Washington state Attorney General

The Washington Supreme Court Tuesday heard the case of a florist versus a same-sex couple who wanted flowers for their wedding in 2013. The owner of Arlene’s Flowers in Richland, Washington, refused to take the job, saying it was against her religious beliefs.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

In Washington’s Tri-Cities, an attorney on the losing side of a gay wedding flowers case is now seeking to unseat the judge who ruled against her. Early last year, Benton County Superior Court Judge Alex Ekstrom ruled that the owner of Arlene’s Flowers broke the law when she refused to sell flowers for a gay couple's wedding.

Harvey Barrison / Flickr - tinyurl.com/zhj7uae

State and federal law protect the rights of Native American children even when one of their parents is not Indian. That’s the word today from the Washington state Supreme Court.

Judicial Integrity WA

A group of wealthy Washingtonians has released a second soft-on-crime attack on Supreme Court Justice Charlie Wiggins. The TV ad debuted Wednesday -- one day after a pair of high-profile Wiggins supporters denounced the attacks.

Aidan Wakely-Mulroney / Flickr - tinyurl.com/zwj3d3j

Paul Allen’s Vulcan, Bill Gates, and Steve and Connie Ballmer are among a growing list of wealthy Washingtonians who want to change the makeup of Washington’s Supreme Court. They are the top donors to a new political action committee called Citizens for Working Courts.

Judicial Integrity WA

A political action committee largely funded by three wealthy Washingtonians has unleashed a hard-hitting attack on a state Supreme Court justice up for re-election. The TV ad suggests Justice Charlie Wiggins is soft on crime.

TVW

A trio of wealthy Washingtonians has just put $350,000 into an effort to defeat a sitting state Supreme Court justice. Their target is Charlie Wiggins who’s been on the court since 2011.

Harvey Barrison / Flickr - tinyurl.com/zhj7uae

The practice of automatically charging 16 and 17-year-olds as adults for serious crimes is coming under scrutiny. The issue will come up Monday at a youth justice conference in Seattle and Tuesday during a Washington Supreme Court hearing.

Thurston County Sheriff's Office K9 Unit / Facebook

A police officer who was bitten in the genitals by a police dog is not entitled to sue for damages without first proving negligence. That was the decision Thursday from a narrowly divided Washington Supreme Court.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

It was nearly a decade ago that the McCleary family sued the state of Washington over school funding. In the years since, the state Supreme Court has sided with the family, found the state in contempt of court and imposed a $100,000 per day fine.

Tradnor / Wikimedia - tinyurl.com/z2ztafp

It’s back to school time. It was also back to court Wednesday for lawyers in an ongoing school funding lawsuit in Washington state.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Just as the school year begins, the Washington state Supreme Court will get an update Wednesday on school funding efforts in the state legislature. Tuesday, a panel of lawmakers got an earful.

Aidan Wakely-Mulroney / Flickr - tinyurl.com/zwj3d3j

The ongoing fight over school funding in Washington state is heading back to court. A hearing is scheduled for Wednesday before the Washington Supreme Court.

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