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Posts published in “Day: March 7, 2006”

Candidate files – Idaho partial

Candidate filing is underway in Idaho, and we''ll report on it periodically. But maybe not a lot, because - although this is only Day 2 and the filing period has been expanded from one week to two - most candidates appear to have filed already.

Idaho votes logo - Secretary of StateHow many of them? Certainly not all. Several expected (virtually certain) candidates in both parties for Congress and governor have not appeared yet, and nor have any for a number of legislative districts. But a lot of the expected names already are in place.

What's most noticable in these early filings is the relative paucity of Democrats. As of the current posting (when this was written), for all the offices on the congressional and statewide level, just three have filed so far (just one, Dan Romero for lieutenant governor, among the statewides). And just six among legislative candidates statewide - compared with 53 Republicans.

To what extent will Democrats be able to turn those numbers around? That will be one of the significant questions in Idaho politics in the days ahead.

Sealed, perhaps to be opened

The Seattle Times has an excellent series on the sealing of civil cases in King County. The Times is following up by filing motions for the opening of those cases - many of them, at least.

It appears that the Times is on sound legal ground in asking. The Washington Supreme Court has set clear rules on sealing cases, and contemplates that will happen only in rare instances. The paper notes

The Washington Constitution says: "Justice in all cases shall be administered openly." To this, many King County judges have effectively added: "unless the parties don't want it to be."

The judges have displayed an ignorance of, or indifference to, the legal requirements for sealing court records. They have routinely sealed files while 1) offering little or no explanation, 2) applying the wrong legal standard, and 3) failing to acknowledge, much less weigh, the public interest in open court proceedings.

At least 97 percent of their sealing orders disregard rules set down by the Washington Supreme Court in the 1980s.

This is a subject worth following up by other newspapers - and interested citizens - in any and all other jurisdictions, and not just in Washington.