S-1278.2  _______________________________________________


                   SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION 8213



State of Washington      57th Legislature     2001 Regular Session


By Senators McCaslin and Hale


Read first time 02/05/2001.  Referred to Committee on Judiciary.

Amending the Constitution to provide for election of supreme court justices from three judicial districts.


    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, an amendment to Article IV, section 3 of the Constitution of the state of Washington to read as follows:


    Article IV, section 3.  ((The judges)) A justice 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.))  Each justice of the supreme court must be a resident of the supreme court judicial district for which he or she is nominated or appointed for not less than one year at the time of nomination or appointment.  There shall be three supreme court judicial districts in the state which shall be coextensive with the three court of appeals districts as established by the legislature.

    The secretary of state, at least once every ten years, shall apportion the supreme court judicial positions among the three supreme court judicial districts according to population so that as near as possible the population in each supreme court judicial district, divided by the number of judicial positions assigned to that district, is equal, except that each district shall have at least one supreme court judicial position assigned to it.  The registered voters of the supreme court judicial district, and they only, shall vote to nominate at the primary candidates for the supreme court judicial position or positions assigned to that district, with the two candidates with the most votes appearing on the general election ballot statewide.

    The requirement to be a resident of the supreme court judicial district shall not apply to the incumbent supreme court justice assigned to that position.  The legislature shall adopt legislation as necessary to implement this section.

    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.  If a vacancy occurs in the office of ((a judge)) justice of the supreme court the governor shall ((only)) appoint a person ((to ensure the number of judges as specified by the legislature,)) from the supreme court judicial district where the vacancy occurred to hold the office until the election and qualification of a ((judge)) justice to fill the vacancy, which election shall take place at the next succeeding general election, and the ((judge)) justice 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.))

    The sessions of the supreme court shall be held at the seat of government until otherwise provided by law.


    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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