Schoesler: Voter-passed I-976 not assured of fair hearing from judicial branch

As voter-approved Initiative 976 remains in legal limbo due to a King County court ruling Nov. 27, Senate Republican Leader Mark Schoesler suggests the measure returning car-tabs to $30 can’t receive a fair court hearing because so many judges owe their jobs to Democrats.

“Most people don’t know that nearly 63 percent of Washington judges were initially appointed by Democrats,” said Schoesler. “So how can an issue like I-976 get a fair hearing when most of the judges are selected by the party that wants to expand government and take more of the people’s money?

“We’ve all seen what has happened over the past month: Taxpayers vote themselves relief from dishonest and onerous car tab costs. Then Democrats in King County sue and a judge in that overwhelmingly Democrat county rules the initiative should not go into effect. This week, the state Supreme Court upholds that ruling to put it on hold, despite its passage by voters.

“You don’t have to be a cynic to say that our state’s Democrats, who control all three branches of Washington’s government, are able to thwart taxpayers’ desire for tax relief no matter what the people say,” added Schoesler.

Schoesler noted that of the 224 judges or justices currently serving in Washington (193 Superior Court judges, 22 court of appeals judges and nine Supreme Court justices), 140 were initially appointed to the bench by a Democrat governor. With Gov. Jay Inslee’s appointment this week of Judge Raquel Montoya-Lewis to the state Supreme Court to replace retiring Justice Mary Fairhurst, four of the nine Supreme Court justices have been appointed by a Democrat governor.

In King County, the appointment rate is 66 percent among Superior Court judges and 80 percent among court of appeals judges in the division with jurisdiction over that county.

“It’s hard for the majority of Washington voters who approved Initiative 976 to think that our court system will give this measure a fair hearing when so many of them were placed there by tax-loving Democrats,” said Schoesler.

Schoesler represents the 9th Legislative District, which covers all or part of Adams, Asotin, Franklin, Garfield, Spokane and Whitman counties.