OLYMPIA -- Justice Debra Stephens, the Washington Supreme Court's newest member, is also its most influential, a conservative think tank says.
The Evergreen Freedom Foundation gave Stephens, the first woman from Eastern Washington to serve on the state's highest court, its first-ever ranking of most influential.
The group based that on the number of majority decisions written, the number of times she's been in the majority, the number of votes that support the opinions she's written, and the number of times she's been the key vote in close cases.
Writing in the group's Supreme Court of Washington Blog, Michael Reitz said that last year, the court had 22 cases that were decided 5-4. Stephens wrote six of those opinions, the most of any justice. and she was in the majority 75 percent of the time, also more than any justice.