This November I will be on the ballot for re-election to our state’s highest court. It is hard to believe that I have been on the court for more than seven years.
Today, more than ever, state supreme courts play an essential role in enforcing fundamental rights and legal protections. State supreme courts have the final authority for enforcing their state’s constitution, interpreting state law, and setting precedents that bind all judges within our state. On matters of state law, the decision of a state supreme court is final and binding. State courts also play a key independent role in the interpretation and application of federal statutes.
The decisions of our Court directly affect you, whether as individuals, communities, organizations, or businesses across our state. The cases which have come before us involve civil rights, religion, the environment, health care, consumer protection, taxation, fair campaign practices, education, policing, parental rights, business regulation, property, the death penalty, juvenile justice, criminal justice, and a wide range of other issues.
Justices are also responsible for ensuring the fair, impartial, and independent administration of justice in every court in our state. We recognize that the administration of justice is undermined whenever the legal system itself is unjust. It is our duty to improve the legal system over which we preside. This is why, when we are not hearing cases, I devote my time to making our legal system accessible, equitable, and effective. I want a court system that inspires trust; one where every individual is treated with respect, dignity, and fairness in the application of our laws.
Many of you know that I grew up in a working-class family on the south side of Chicago. I never expected that I could go to college, and never imagined that one day I could be a judge, let alone a state supreme court justice. My mother came from Mexico and spent much of her early life picking strawberries and asparagus. My father came from China and found work in a factory where he met my mother. I did not see many people who looked like me in positions of power, and I was born at a time when not many judges were people of color or women.
As the first Asian American, first Latina, first woman of color, first LGBTQ+ justice, and only the 11th woman ever to serve on Washington State's Supreme Court, I know that having a bench that reflects and represents diverse perspectives is a cornerstone to achieving a system of justice that lives up to its name. That’s why I continue to mentor young women and men and new attorneys, just as my mentors helped make sure I had opportunities which my parents would never have imagined.
I co-chair the Court's Minority and Justice Commission, chair the Board for Judicial Administration's Public Trust and Confidence Committee, co-chair the Washington State Bar Association/University of Washington Law School Leadership Institute, and teach at Seattle University School of Law – because each of these ensures the same opportunities for others.
It is an honor to serve you as a State Supreme Court Justice. I am especially proud to be a member of the Court at this time in our history.
Please contact our campaign committee if you’d like to help me get re-elected.
Thank you in advance.