The Aug. 17 primary will decide if Justice Jim Johnson will return for a second term on the state Supreme Court or be replaced by challenger Stan Rumbaugh.
Both candidates for the high court have sharp legal minds and are well qualified. The citizens of Washington state simply can't lose regardless of who is elected.
Unfortunately, voters must choose between these fine candidates.
We give the edge to Johnson based on his six years of experience and the niche he fills on the nine-member court.
Johnson has proven himself to be a strong defender of individual rights while taking care to base his rulings on the specifics of the law in question rather than his personal and political beliefs. Johnson understands it is the Legislature, not the high court, that makes law. When he has found constitutional flaws with laws, he has left it to lawmakers to make the appropriate fixes.
Johnson is politically conservative. Prior to being elected to the high court he used his legal insights as an advocate for property rights and anti-tax initiatives.
On the high court, Johnson's approach seems to complement the various perspectives of the other justices on the court. He brings passion and intellect to the legal debate while remaining collegial.
Still, Rumbaugh, although he doesn't have judicial experience, is well prepared to serve on the court. Rumbaugh is an accomplished lawyer who has argued before the Supreme Court successfully several times. We have no doubt he would be an excellent addition.
Six years ago we endorsed Johnson because of his potential to be an extraordinary justice. He has not disappointed.
Johnson is a strong member of the court and should be retained.
Our address is P.O. Box 1358, Walla Walla, WA 99362.
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