Gabe Galanda published an article, "Off-Color State Judicial Elections: Voting and Race," in this month's King County Bar Association Bar Bulletin. The article is available online here (abbreviated; login required) and in reprint here (full). A couple excerpts:
Because African Americans, Latinos and Native Americans are disproportionately poor, they contribute significantly less money to political campaigns than European Americans. Knowing this reality, candidates, including judicial candidates, generally care less about ethnic minorities’ electoral interests. In turn, racial minorities may feel further marginalized such that they disregard judicial elections altogether and, if or when in court, they disproportionately fear that a judge is more accountable to majority or corporate ideology than to stare decisis or the rule of law. Add finally into this debate the utter lack of elected representation for minorities in most areas of the state. The combined Latino population for 10 counties in Central and Eastern Washington, for example, is a bit higher than 33 percent. Yet, Latinos hold only 4% of those regions’ elective offices and not a single Latino lawyer has ever been elected to the bench in Eastern Washington. The same goes for Native Americans, who have yet to see an Indian judge elected to the state bench anywhere in Washington.
Gabriel "Gabe" Galanda is a partner at Galanda Broadman PLLC, of Seattle, an American Indian owned law firm. He is an enrolled member of the Round Valley Indian Tribes of Covelo, California. Gabe serves as a Quinault Nation Court of Appeals Judge and a tribal administrative law judge for other tribes, as well as mediates and arbitrates Indian Country-related disputes. Gabe can be reached at 206.691.3631 or email@example.com.