Washington's state executive branch offices aren't up this year, and Democrats seem likely to retain control of the state legislature. But Republicans are taking serious aim at the third branch: The top of the state judiciary.
Those seats are legally nonpartisan, of course. And one appointed or elected, judges and justices tend to wander in unpredictable ways; something about the atmosphere of a judicial chamber may have an effect on thought processes.
Regardless, Republicans clearly are aiming for what would be in effect - at least the intent - of a close split or a slight majority in practical terms on the Washington Supreme Court. They might not get it, but the effort clearly is there. It would be a move from generally nonpartisan at present to a distinct shift to the right. After the decisions on the governor's race and other matters, bearing in mind the heat likely soon to erupt over the Defense of Marriage Act, and general in-party agitation against the courts, you can see where the impulse would come from.
Taking this from the top . . . (more…)