Before I cast my vote for a judge, I usually look at the bar association qualification ratings. After all, how am I, a layman, supposed to make an informed decision on a “nonpartisan” race for which the candidates aren’t even allowed to campaign on the issues?
So I was curious to see the Tacoma-Pierce County Bar Association’s Judicial Qualifications Committee’s most recent ratings for Stephanie Arend, the judge who granted Dino Rossi an injunction to stop counting legal votes in King County:
Lloyd L. Alton, Jr. Well qualified Stephanie A. Arend* Minimally qualified Scott A. Candoo Well qualified Clayton R. Dickinson Qualified Henry Haas Exceptionally well qualified Christine J. Quinn-Brintnall Qualified Douglas W. VanScoy Well qualified Karl L. Williams Well qualified| Edward S. Winskill Exceptionally well qualified
That’s right… Judge Arend was only rated “minimally qualified”, the second to lowest rating available. Out of the nine candidates running in 1999, she was deemed to be the least qualified!
A candidate will receive a Minimally Qualified Rating when the candidate meets the minimum statutory requirements for the judicial position sought, is in good standing with the Washington State Bar and other Bar Associations to which the candidate has been admitted and possesses the basic legal ability required for the judicial position but is deficient in one or more of the criteria for a Qualified Rating.
I could not find a more recent judicial rating, probably because she’s run unopposed since then. I assume she’s benefited from some on-the-job training, but I just thought you might like to know what kind of “minimally qualified” legal decision this election might turn on.