Former Justice Richard B. Sanders of the Washington Supreme Court announced today his candidacy for the open seat left on the court by retiring Justice Tom Chambers. Justice Sanders served on the court between 1995 and 2011, having been narrowly defeated in 2010 with more than 49.6% of the vote.
I am seeking election to the court so the citizens of this state can have an experienced jurist who values the rights of private citizens. This is not just another political position to be filled with attack ads and sound bites. We need men and women who will stand on principle to protect the rights of every person, not just the political powerful or the popular.
During his time on the court Justice Sanders heard over 2,000 cases and wrote opinions in over 600. No other candidate has any appellate judicial experience.
Besides serving on the court he was an adjunct professor at the University of Washington School of Law and wrote scholarly articles. A chapter authored by Sanders in a criminal justice text is taught at Harvard Law School. His opinions were recognized nationwide and were the subject of scholarly debate and recognition.
Sanders’ favorite line in the state constitution provides it is the role of government “to protect and maintain individual rights.” “That’s what I tried to do in every case from the rights of the accused to property rights, from open government to the right to keep and bear arms,” he adds.
He has defended the rights of medical marijuana users and dissented in a case to support the rights of a black man brutally beaten by police. “No one is above the law”especially not the government. One of the most important duties of a justice is to protect private citizens when the government tries to violate their rights,” says Sanders.
On the Court, he gained a reputation for his open government cases and for protecting the people’s right to referendum and initiative. Sanders pointed to the recent 5-4 Supreme Court decision striking down an initiative against red light cameras. “Had I been on the court it would have been 5-4 the other way,” Sanders said.
Before his term on the bench, he was a practicing trial attorney in Bellevue. He lives on Vashon Island.