Washington Judges Eligible to Serve on the Commission on Judicial Conduct, SJR 8207 (2005)

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The Membership of Commission on Judicial Conduct Act, also known as SJR 8207, was on the November 8, 2005 election ballot in Washington as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment, where it was approved. SJR 8207 replaces the phrase "district court judges" with the broader term "limited jurisdiction court judges." This has the effect of allowing a judge of any court of limited jurisdiction to be selected for one of the three judicial positions on the state's Commission on Judicial Conduct.

Election results

Washington SJR 8207 (2005)
Approveda Yes 1,102,192 67.55%

Election results via the Washington Secretary of State.[1]

Text of the measure

See also: Washington State Constitution, Article IV, Section 31

The language appeared on the ballot as:[2]

The Legislature has proposed a constitutional amendment on qualifications for service on the Commission on Judicial Conduct.

This amendment would permit one member of the Commission on Judicial Conduct to be selected by and from the judges of all courts of limited jurisdiction.

Should this constitutional amendment be approved or rejected?[3]


These arguments in support appeared in the official State of Washington Voter Guide:[4]


SJR 8207 is a corrective measure amending the State Constitution to include elected municipal court judges as persons eligible to serve on the Commission on Judicial Conduct.

The Commission on Judicial Conduct was created under the Constitution to discipline judges when they violate the ethical rules set out in the Code of Judicial Conduct. Currently, the Commission membership consists of six non-lawyers appointed by the Governor, two lawyers appointed by the State Bar Association, and three judges: one judge each from the Court of Appeals, the Superior Court, and the District Court.

Municipal Court judges, like all judges, are subject to discipline for violation of the ethical rules. This amendment corrects an oversight that excludes elected municipal court judges from participating in the Commission that disciplines judges for ethical violations. Fairness requires that municipal court judges also be represented by their peers and have an opportunity to assist the Commission.

This measure would not change the number of or manner in which Commission members are selected. It only changes the Constitutional language from "district" to "limited jurisdiction" judges, thereby including municipal court judges as persons eligible to participate in the Commission.

The Legislature passed this Resolution with near unanimity (only two "no" votes), and sent it to the voters for approval as an amendment to the Constitution. This resolution is supported by the following organizations:

  • Judicial Conduct Commission
  • Association of Washington Cities
  • District and Municipal Court Judges Association
  • Board for Judicial Administration[3]

The argument in support was prepared by State Representatives Adam Kline, Stephen L. Johnson, Brendan Williams, and Skip Priest, as well as Judges Judith Hightower and Alicia Nakata.


These arguments in opposition appeared in the official State of Washington Voter Guide:[5]

State law requires that the argument and rebuttal statement against a constitutional amendment be written by one or more members of the state Legislature who voted against that proposed measure on final passage or, in the event that no such member of the Legislature consents to prepare the statement, by any other responsible individual or individuals to be appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the President of the State Senate, and the Secretary of State. No legislator who voted against Senate Joint Resolution 8207 or other individual opposing the measure consented to write an argument against the measure for publication in this pamphlet.[3]

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