HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION 4201
State of Washington
2019 Regular Session
ByRepresentatives Klippert and Shea
Prefiled 01/03/19.Read first time 01/14/19.Referred to Committee on Civil Rights & Judiciary.
BE IT RESOLVED, BY THE SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON, IN LEGISLATIVE SESSION ASSEMBLED:
THAT, At the next general election to be held in this state the secretary of state shall submit to the qualified voters of the state for their approval and ratification, or rejection, amendments to Article IV, sections 2 and 3 of the Constitution of the state of Washington to read as follows:
Article IV, section 2. The supreme court shall consist of five judges, a majority of whom shall be necessary to form a quorum, and pronounce a decision. The said court shall always be open for the transaction of business except on nonjudicial days. In the determination of causes all decisions of the court shall be given in writing and the grounds of the decision shall be stated. ((The legislature may increase the number of judges of the supreme court from time to time and may provide for separate departments of said court.))
Article IV, section 3. (1) The judges of the supreme court shall be elected by the qualified electors of the state at large at the general state election at the times and places at which state officers are elected, unless some other time be provided by the legislature. ((The first election of judges of the supreme court shall be at the election which shall be held upon the adoption of this Constitution and the judges elected thereat shall be classified by lot, so that two shall hold their office for the term of three years, two for the term of five years, and one for the term of seven years. The lot shall be drawn by the judges who shall for that purpose assemble at the seat of government, and they shall cause the result thereof to be certified to the secretary of state, and filed in his office.))
(2) From January 11, 2021, and thereafter, the state supreme court consists of five judges. Five judges are elected at the 2020 general election, and upon certification of the election these judges are classified by lot, so that two hold their office for two years, two for four years, and one for six years. The lot is drawn by the judges who must for that purpose assemble at the seat of government, and they must certify the result to the secretary of state.
(3) Except as provided in subsection (2) of this section, beginning with the 2022 election, the terms of judges elected to the state supreme court are six years from and after the second Monday in January next following their election, and until their successors are elected and qualified.
(4) The supreme court shall select a chief justice from its own membership to serve for a four-year term at the pleasure of a majority of the court as prescribed by supreme court rule. The chief justice shall preside at all sessions of the supreme court. In case of the absence of the chief justice, the majority of the remaining court shall select one of their members to serve as acting chief justice. ((After the first election the terms of judges elected shall be six years from and after the second Monday in January next succeeding their election.))
(5) If a vacancy occurs in the office of a judge of the supreme court the governor shall only appoint a person to ensure the number of judges as specified by the legislature, to hold the office until the election and qualification of a judge to fill the vacancy, which election shall take place at the next succeeding general election, and the judge so elected shall hold the office for the remainder of the unexpired term. ((The term of office of the judges of the supreme court, first elected, shall commence as soon as the state shall have been admitted into the Union, and continue for the term herein provided, and until their successors are elected and qualified.))
(6) The sessions of the supreme court shall be held at the seat of government until otherwise provided by law.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That this amendment is a single amendment within the meaning of Article XXIII, section 1 of the state Constitution.
The legislature finds that the changes contained in this amendment constitute a single integrated plan for revising membership of the state supreme court. If this amendment is held to be separate amendments, this joint resolution is void in its entirety and is of no further force and effect.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That the secretary of state shall cause notice of this constitutional amendment to be published at least four times during the four weeks next preceding the election in every legal newspaper in the state.
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