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Public Statements

Issue Position: Independence

Issue Position

Location: Unknown

A good judge strives to improve the court system. Charlie has worked tirelessly to protect the judiciary from special interest groups and to preserve the independence of the court.

* Charlie advocates and testified in the legislature in favor of imposing campaign contribution limits in Washington judicial elections, which was signed into law in 2006.
* Charlie testified in the legislature in favor of public financing of judicial elections, which is awaiting adoption and would free judges from the corrosive influence of financial support.
* Charlie has advocated for a new rule, currently before the Supreme Court, to prevent a judge from sitting on the case of a party that spent large sums of money getting the judge elected.
* In order to help voters, Charlie helped to establish the award-winning web site, the best single source of information about judicial elections in Washington.
* Charlie proposed that the Supreme Court appoint a task force to re-write the rules governing lawyer discipline and then served on the task force as a driving force to make the process more accessible, fairer and more transparent. He currently serves on a task force again undertaking a comprehensive evaluation of the disciplinary rules.

Justice Sanders opposed (and continues to oppose) any limits on campaign contributions.

In 2008, Charlie represented 27 former Supreme Court justices from 19 different states in an amicus brief for the United States Supreme Court in Caperton v. Massey Energy. In this case Caperton won a $50 million jury verdict against Massey Energy. The CEO of Massey subsequently spent $3 million to elect a new judge to the West Virginia Supreme Court. This new justice was part of a 3 to 2 decision that threw out the $50 million jury verdict. Charlie's brief argued that the new justice's ability to be impartial was compromised and that a justice should not sit on a case involving a company that donated money to his or her campaign. Fortunately, the Supreme Court reversed the case and sent it back to the West Virginia Supreme Court. Charlie is working hard to protect the courts from special interests.

Justice Sanders joined a different amicus brief in Caperton v. Massey Energy. The brief Sanders joined argued that the West Virginia Supreme Court Justice should have been allowed to sit on the case, despite the fact that Massey's CEO donated $3 million to his campaign. The U.S. Supreme Court rejected his position.

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