When I woke up I was still tired. So was Dottie, my dog. She did not even move as I jumped out of bed. Normally when I move, she follows. I wondered why Dottie was so tired. I knew why I was tired.
I got back into bed and thought about the King County Bar Association “Meet and Greet” scheduled for 11:00 am. I didn’t want to go. It had nothing to do with their judicial committee’s rating, but that reinforced my decision to blow off the event. The real reason I didn’t go is because I don’t like “Meet and Greets”.
Most often I meet other candidates, who are looking for voters, who happen upon a space close to where I am standing. We shake hands. Then each moves on. I think these events are great for extroverts, like my friend Peter. They are also okay for introvert candidates coupled with extrovert friends; like when Peter got to the GSBA Meet and Greet and introduced me to everyone. But “Meet and Greets” are not very much fun for an introvert who lives on a mountain with his dog and does not like traffic.
So I stayed on the mountain in my bed with Dottie for an extra hour. Then I got up and went into the office.
This other world I lived in before I started campaigning was continuing on. I was told the Supremes had denied Hapaianu’s motion to modify the Commissioner’s Ruling in Hapaianu v ICC. That is one of the cases which caused me to run for Supreme Court and is discussed in my Mission Statement at Stafneforjustice.org. Hapaianu challenged whether the Court of Appeal could dismiss claims and issues without stating its reasons for doing so. My stomach cramped for a second. I was glad I was running for the Supreme Court.
Judges have to be aware that if they keep getting it wrong there are people, like me, who will call them out. We might lose or we might win. But the Supreme Court’s handling of its duties and discretion will be brought before the public. But does the public care?
Some people don’t even vote in judicial races. This is not very smart because judges determine what the language of statutes mean. In other words, the statutes the legislature writes are construed by the judiciary; often in ways contrary to the language of the statute.
Which is the greater power? The power to write the statute or the power to say what the statute means?
Large corporations know which is more important because they now spend millions of dollars on judicial races. This is not because they are concerned about justice for the poor and middle class. If they were concerned about us we would see the banks and big corporations distributing their money to all judicial candidates. Last time I looked my campaign has had no contribution from banks or big corporations. It would be nice if we had more contributions from you.
I know the money is scarce. But if you want my voice heard you should contribute what you can to my campaign at https://stafneforjustice.com/contribute/ Otherwise, my message will be drowned out by incumbents’ television and radio ads.
But I will keep on reporting about how the campaign looks from my perspective right here at my blog until the election is over.
So back to what happened on July 20, 2012.
I had an interview with the Washington Association of Prosecutors scheduled for 2:00 pm at the Red Lion Inn in SeaTac. Traffic was not favorable. When it became obvious I would be late I had my office staff call to let the committee know.
When I walked in the door, a member of the committee was right there. We shook hands and I apologized. Lawyers hate to be late. So when I went in to see the Committee I apologized again.
Being late made me more concise than I otherwise might have been.
I was happy with the interview. I had been concerned about my audience, i.e. prosecutors, because many of my cases challenge their clients. But many of their questions seemed to relate to my concerns about the courts, such as the importance of precedence and stare decisis. Under what circumstances should precedent be overruled?
My opinion is that the present court disturbs precedent too often. Indeed, just this year the Supreme Court overruled precedent related to the Superior Court’s subject matter jurisdiction in Posey v State by concluding the precedent relating thereto really never said what previous courts had made clear. By distorting what had been previous law the court aggrandized power from the legislature to itself without any real consideration of stare decisis.
I know this may not make sense to many of you. So let me just conclude by saying that I think the court’s decision was a bad one which deviated from traditional legal norms.
I finished the interview. I thanked the prosecutors for their time and left. I felt good about the process.
I drove to Nordstrom’s Café at South Gate Mall to meet with Virginia and a reporter from the Seattle Times. I got there before anyone else. So I called Bryan.
Bryan is a client from Clallam County who arranged for me to be on a phone call with several hundred people who are interested in home foreclosure law. I saw an advertisement for the “event” before I left Stafne Law Firm for the WAPA interview. The advertisement suggested I might be going to a barbecue where I was going to be roasted and devoured.
Bryan explained. “You know a lot of these guys are really smart.” I answered that I knew that. And then he said that some thought American attorneys had to swear an oath of allegiance to the Queen of England before they could be admitted to practice law.
I quickly told him: “That’s not true” and wondered what tomorrow’s phone call would be like. (I’ll tell you in tomorrow’s blog.)
Virginia arrived followed a half hour later by a reporter who had been delayed in traffic. The reporter looked young. I did not catch his name.
The reporter explained that he was writing an article for publication tomorrow about the Supreme Court races, except position 9. He said he had already talked with Doug McQuaid and Susan Owens. He wanted to know why I was running for Supreme Court.
Before we got very far into the interview I learned he was a history major in college. I smiled inside.
I told him my beef was with the Court of Appeals excessive use of unpublished decisions having no precedential value denigrating the predictably of the common law and interpretation of statutes. I further stated that no court could legitimately render a decision on any cause without stating its reasoning. Finally, I explained that it was the Supreme Court’s responsibility to oversee the lower courts open administration of justice.
I think he got what I was saying. When we talked about the common law he used the term “layer by layer”, which is much the same type of analogy I use when I describe the common law as a fabric which is created “stitch by stitch”.
You can understand the problem created by not having a full library of decisions by considering how courts construe statutes, where the legislature attempts to state a rule to be applied in the future. Just giving meaning to the words of a rule is not an easy task.
Now consider what happens when courts attempt to divine the meaning of common law examining only a few cases. That’s really difficult to do because the judiciary’s job is to only apply existing law to existing facts; not to set rules for the future. The common law benefits from more decisions adjudicating the law applicable to various factual scenarios. The people in Washington are affirmatively harmed by the Courts of Appeal failure to publish their opinions and the Supreme Court’s acquiescence in this judicial abuse.
When I caught a breath, I asked the reporter when he was born. I think he said 1988. Can you believe that? Someone who was born in 1988 is now a reporter; and he appeared to be a good reporter.
I told him that the people in my generation were not happy with what was going on regarding foreclosures. Then I asked him about his generation. Those poor souls saddled with non-dischargeable students loans who might have to live with mom and dad forever….
OK, I didn’t really ask the question in those exact words. But I did ask the question. How upset are the younger generations about what the United States has become and is heading for? I don’t recall he answered the question. Probably because I did not pause long enough to explain how he felt. But he looked and acted smart. Maybe the reporter will editorialize on behalf of his own generation some day.
Are young people angry? Or do most of them use Seattle’s Stranger newspaper as the source of their opinions?
If so, August 7 will be a time for Justice Owen’s Washington State seal shaped bedsores to clebrate. To understand the joke, see Stranger editorial which states in pertinent part:
Justice Susan Owens is a seasoned badass who’s been warming benches for so long in Washington that her ass is riddled with bedsores shaped like the state seal. …
If people want a new judge with an ass which has not yet developed bed sores, then they should vote for me. People should also vote for me if they think our system of justice is broken and has not become better during Justice Owen’s 30 year tenure on the bench.
I gotta get to sleep. Night all.