Washington Temporary Superior Court Judges, SJR 8208 (2001)
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|Washington Senate Joint Resolution 8208|
Text of measure
The question asked on the ballot was:
- "The Legislature has proposed a constitutional amendment on the use of temporary superior court judges (judges pro tempore). This amendment would allow superior courts to bring in elected Washington judges from other court levels to hear cases on a temporary basis, subject to certain restrictions, as implemented by supreme court rules. Should this constitutional amendment be Approved or Rejected?"
The ballot summary provided by the Attorney General of Washington said:
- "The proposed amendment would permit the expanded use of temporary judges. The amendment would permit the use of an elected Washington judge from another court level (such as an appellate court, or district or other local court) to hear superior court cases as a judge pro tempore without the agreement of the parties, as allowed by a new supreme court rule. The amendment would require that judges be assigned to cases based on their experience. A party to a case would have the right to one change of temporary judge, in addition to a similar right available under current law. The amendment would not change the provision requiring the agreement of the parties for a lawyer or retired judge to serve as a judge pro tempore, or the provision allowing a retired judge to complete pending cases."
Arguments in favor of Amendment 94 prepared for the state's official voter's pamphlet were written by:
- Gerry Alexander, Chief Justice, Washington Supreme Court
- Jan Eric Peterson, President, Washington State Bar Association
- Adam Kline, State Senator
- Ida Ballasiotes, State Representative
- Stephen Johnson, State Senator
- Patricia Lantz, State Representative.
They said that SJR 8208 would:
- Reduce court congestion: "Court congestion is a problem. When cases come up for a hearing, superior court judges are often unavailable because they are already busy hearing other cases. As a result, cases have to be postponed."
- SJR 8208 will provide more judges, at no additional cost: "ESJR 8208 simply allows superior courts to use elected Washington judges from other court levels to hear cases on a temporary basis as needed. The result – more effective use of existing judges at no additional cost to taxpayers."
Arguments against Amendment 94 prepared for the state's official voter's pamphlet were written by:
- Joyce Mulliken, State Representative, 13th District.
- Val Stevens, State Senator, 39th District
- Don Benton, State Senator, 17th District.
They said that Amendment 94 would:
- "Make it harder to get rid of bad judges".
- It "takes away our constitutional rights".
- It limits judicial accountability: "Even though it attempts to provide some protections, it still allows a judge pro tem ultimately to be appointed even if the parties strongly oppose the person being appointed. This person may not be elected from the area in which the parties live and therefore is wholly unaccountable to the voters."
Path to the ballot
SJR 8208 was voted onto the ballot by the Washington State Legislature. The votes in each chamber were:
- Washington State Senate: Yeas, 39; Nays, 8; Absent, 0; Excused, 2.
- Washington House of Representatives: House: Yeas, 91; Nays, 5; Absent, 2; Excused, 0.
- Ballot measures in the State of Washington about judicial reform
- Washington 2001 ballot measures
- List of Washington ballot measures
- 2001 ballot measures
- State of Washington 2001 ballot measure election results
- 2001 Washington ballot measures details
- 2001 Official Voter's Pamphlet
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