Richard B. Sanders has served 14 years as state Supreme Court Justice. During that time Sanders has been a polarizing and controversial member of the court.
Sanders has staunch libertarian philosophy combined with his penchant for strict, literal interpretation of the text of laws. And he is very proud of it.
His libertarian bent has some positive aspects. It, for example, forces the court's eight other justices to view the law from a different perspective. As we've said in the past, Sanders has clearly made for more intellectually stimulating -- and very interesting -- debates at the Temple of Justice.
Still, we have growing concerns about Sanders' negative impact on the court. His unbending approach -- black or white with no shades of gray -- does not necessarily serve justice. The truth can be ignored and criminals can be released from prison on legal technicalities.
In addition, Sanders does not acknowledge government's role as an advocate for the collective good of the people.
In the primary, we endorsed Bryan Chushcoff, who came in third behind Sanders and Charlie Wiggins, a Tacoma attorney.
Still, we saw Wiggins as a strong candidate to replace Sanders.
Wiggins, whose experience is mostly in private practice, has a sharp legal mind and has demonstrated a passionate commitment to his community. He has a long list of legal accomplishments and is well respected in his profession.
Wiggins' impressive history of public service rivals only his long list of legal accomplishment.
Sanders, too, has a keen mind.
If re-elected, the people would be served by Sanders.
But his unbending approach to the law is not always productive. The people -- and justice -- would be better served with a more moderate justice who would look at the law in context rather than rendering staunch, literal interpretations.
We believe Wiggins would be a fine justice and we recommend he be elected to the state Supreme Court.