If judicial candidates are non-partisan, and they will not disclose how they will decide issues as a judge, how can the public choose the right candidate? The best way to select a judicial candidate, is to treat the election like you are hiring an employee for a job.
If you have never been an attorney or judge before, and you don’t know where to start, don’t worry. Several independent organizations do the hard work for you. These bar associations, made up of attorneys and judges, dig through each candidate’s detailed application and writing sample, they call numerous references, and they conduct focused interviews of the candidates.
The bar associations do not endorse or recommend any of the candidates. Instead, the bar associations rate the candidates on their ability to perform the position for which they are seeking election or appointment. The candidates are rated on factors such as relevant experience, judicial temperament, integrity, and knowledge of the law. The ratings – good or bad — become public and are intended to help the public vote on candidates. The process is voluntary, and some candidates chose not to be rated.
Judge Tracy Staab has volunteered for ratings several times. In 2017, she was rated by the Spokane Bar Association as “Exceptionally Qualified” (the highest rating possible) for her position as Municipal Court Judge, with a recommendation that she “seek more advanced judicial positions in the future.” So far, in 2020, Judge Staab has been rated “Exceptionally Well Qualified” for the Court of Appeals by three bar associations, including the Washington State Veteran’s Bar Association, the Joint Asian Judicial Evaluation Committee, and the Latina/o Bar Association. She has also been rated “Well Qualified” by the Cardozo Society and QLaw.
Finally, if you were interviewing a person for an important job, you would also contact their references. For judicial candidates, endorsements equal references. Look through the list of endorsements for each candidate. These are people who know the candidate’s qualifications and are willing to stand behind the candidate. If you see a name you know or recognize, contact them and ask about the candidate.
Voting for judges is hard. For this particular position at the Court of Appeals, it is important to chose a candidate who has experience as an attorney and a judge, who has experience in civil law and criminal law, and a candidate with extensive appellate experience. If you compare the candidates on these important qualifications, the choice becomes clear – Judge Tracy Staab is the best choice for Court of Appeals, Division III.
An Experienced Judge We Can Trust.