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State of Washington

History of Reform Efforts: Washington

Unsuccessful Reform Efforts

The Walsh Commission was a 24-member committee of citizens, judges, and attorneys appointed by the governor and headed by a Seattle journalist. The Commission proposed a modified merit plan for selecting Washington judges. The proposal called for gubernatorial appointment of judges from recommendations made by a nominating commission. Judges would run in contested elections after one year in office, and in retention elections thereafter. The commission's proposal was never voted on by the legislature. However, the supreme court implemented the commission's recommendation regarding the distribution of a judicial voter pamphlet.

For more information about voter guides in Washington, see Judicial Selection Reform: Examples from Six States.

HB 2150, calling for merit selection of judges, passed the house judiciary committee.