These are difficult times for our country and the world community. There is so much that is wrong or going wrong right now. It can be hard to maintain a positive, hopeful attitude.
So we really need all the good news we can get. And when we get it, we need to make sure that everybody knows about it and that we celebrate it.
That’s why our team at the Northwest Progressive Institute has published this diary here on Daily Kos.
If you’ve been active in progressive politics for any length of time, then you know about the right wing takeover of our courts. You know about Trump and McConnell’s plot to stack the federal judiciary with as many reactionary right wing jurists as possible… a scheme that has been interrupted by COVID-19, but which Republican senators are anxious to resume.
And you know that Republicans in Wisconsin immorally and irresponsibly insisted on holding an election last week in part because they wanted to rig a State Supreme Court race.
But did you know that here in Washington State — the real Washington — we now have a State Supreme Court with seven female justices out of nine total?
And that of those seven female justices, one is an Asian American woman, one is a Native American woman, and one is a black woman? (All are progressives with impeccable credentials; two identify as LBGTQ+)
No, really and truly... we do, as of today, following Judge G. Helen Whitener’s appointment to the Washington State Supreme Court by Governor Jay Inslee.
New Justice Whitener is a black woman identifying as LGBTQ+ who immigrated to the U.S. from Trinidad.
If you want to see what the inverse of right wing judicial activism is, then look to Washington State. Our team at the Northwest Progressive Institute believes you will not find a more diverse high court anywhere. Washington State is demonstrating that it’s possible to have a judiciary that reflects the diversity of the people. And that it is possible to have a court that cares about access to justice, the protection of our liberties, and the well-being of all people.
Remember, judicial appointments are usually made by the executive branch. If Washington State had a Republican governor, we’d have a very different Supreme Court bench.
Similarly, imagine if Hillary Clinton had become President and not Donald Trump. Gorsuch and Kavanaugh would not have been nominated or confirmed.
Our team invites you to head over to the Cascadia Advocate and learn more about our new Justice, G. Helen Whitener. We also encourage you to check out this post from our archives about the appointment of Justice Raquel Montoya-Lewis, one of the first Native American women anywhere in this country to serve in the judiciary at the highest appellate level.
And we invite you to ask us any questions you may have about our Supreme Court. We are longtime State Supreme Court watchers and happy to field your questions.
One fun fact about our State Supreme Court that you should know: All of its oral arguments are televised by TVW (our state C-SPAN equivalent) and playable on demand anytime. That makes it possible to watch the Court in action without being there, although our team has been to the Temple of Justice many times to observe oral argument.