AWB Tabulates Scorecard on Washington State Supreme Court Justices
June 8, 2006
OLYMPIA, WA —The Association of Washington Business has released its 2006 Scorecard and Guide to the Washington Supreme Court as part of a continuing effort to monitor the work of our state’s highest court and to educate the public about court cases impacting Washington’s business climate.
The 2006 Scorecard evaluates 36 decisions of the Washington State Supreme Court issued between mid-2004 and spring, 2006 and describes the central holding of each case. It also notes whether AWB agreed or disagreed with the court’s decision. The Scorecard then assigns “pro-business” scores based upon the percentage of cases in line with AWB positions.
The justices’ pro-business scores are given for all 36 cases overall, and are broken down across six business issue areas, including employment law, environment and land use, tax and fiscal, workers’ compensation, torts and liability, and general business interests. The scorecard then compares 2006 scores with those from 2004.
Although he participated in the fewest number of overall cases, newcomer Justice Jim Johnson received the highest overall pro-business score, taking positions with which AWB agreed 82 percent of the time. Voters elected Justice Jim Johnson to the court in 2004, and took the bench the following January.
Justice Richard Sanders, re-elected to a second full six-year term in 2004, followed Justice Jim Johnson with a 75 percent overall pro-business score. Particularly strong scores in environmental and land use issues buoyed the scores of both Justice Johnson and Justice Sanders.
“The Scorecard is a valuable service to members of the business community and the general public,” Seattle environmental attorney Sarah Mack said. Mack chairs AWB’s Legal Affairs Committee and helps put the scorecard together. “The work of the Supreme Court is often obscure to the general public and educational tools like the Scorecard help bring that work closer to those who elect members of the Court.”
“The court’s decisions affect the lives and jobs of every Washington citizen on a daily basis,” observed longtime AWB member and former Seattle mayor Wes Uhlman. “Yet most people don’t pay that much attention to the Supreme Court. The Scorecard helps change that, and lets the court know that job providers are paying attention—expecting a fair shake.”
AWB General Counsel Kris Tefft authors the biennial guide. “The business community’s tool to evaluate and educate—both the public about what is important about the work of the Supreme Court, and the Supreme Court about what is important to the business community,” Tefft said. AWB also considers endorsing candidates seeking election or re-election to the Supreme Court. “The Scorecard is one of the tools we use when considering candidates for endorsement,” Tefft said.
The Building Industry Association of Washington, Washington Association of REALTORS®, Washington Farm Bureau, and Washington Restaurant Association co-sponsored this year’s Scorecard. To obtain a copy of AWB’s 2006 Scorecard and Guide to the Washington Supreme Court, contact Kris Tefft at KrisT@AWB.org or (360) 943-1600.
AWB is Washington 's oldest and largest statewide business association. Formed in 1904, its 5,600 members employ more than 600,000 workers. AWB also is the state's chamber of commerce and umbrella organization for more than 125 trade and professional organizations. While AWB's membership includes the state’s major employers like Boeing, Microsoft and Weyerhaeuser, more than 85 percent of AWB members employ fewer than 100, and one-third of our members hire fewer than 10.