Governor Inslee takes the honor of making judicial appointments very seriously. He strives to strengthen the quality, efficiency and image of our judiciary through his appointments. Judicial appointments have a significant effect on the citizens of Washington and those who do business in this state, and are a high priority for the Governor. He believes that the selection of experienced, independent and well-qualified lawyers to join the bench is vital to maintaining not only an efficient judicial system, but also a healthy democracy and vital economy.
Appointments to date
Notice of judicial vacancy
Seeking judicial appointment
Please complete and submit the Uniform Judicial Evaluation Questionnaire* and a brief resume (no more than three pages). Applications and letters of support should be submitted directly to the Governor's General Counsel, who is in charge of the Governor's judicial evaluation and selection process, at the following address:
Office of the Governor
P.O. Box 40002
Olympia, Washington 98504
*The questionnaire is appropriate for appointments to the Superior Court, the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court.
Evaluations from the state, county and minority bar associations
Evaluations from the state, county and minority bar associations help the Governor locate and evaluate the widest spectrum of candidates. All applicants are strongly encouraged to utilize these evaluation programs and to contact the county and minority bar associations as soon as possible in the application process. If you are applying for an appellate position, please contact the Washington State Bar Association to obtain its evaluation. A regularly updated directory of the minority bar associations and their respective Judicial Evaluation Committee Chairpersons can be found here.
Evaluation and selection process
A central goal in the Governor's judicial evaluation and selection process is to gather as much information about each candidate from as many sources as possible to ensure a robust vetting process. Before filling a vacancy, the thoughts of the judges on the bench where the vacancy exists are always considered, together with input from bar and community leaders and every available bar association evaluation or rating.
The Governor's General Counsel will review every submitted application and conduct the initial round of interviews of the best qualified candidates. The finalists are interviewed by the Governor personally. The Governor's process for evaluating and selecting candidates can be lengthy, and every effort is made to fill vacancies as quickly as possible. However quality is never compromised for speed. In order to facilitate timely decision making, interested and qualified lawyers are encouraged to submit an application at any time - so that a ready pool of applications is on file when a vacancy opens.
Gubernatorial appointees hold office until the next general election, at which time the people of the area they serve may vote to retain the appointed judge or elect another candidate. While appointees are often not challenged, any appointee must be well prepared to launch a vigorous campaign to retain the seat.