Rosselle Pekelis is just too good to pass up, voters. She belongs on Washington state’s highest court. Brilliant, down-to-earth, articulate, supported by police, revered as a judge, involved in the community from Little League to the PTA, a working mom, a grandmother, passionately committed to American freedoms as only an Italian immigrant who fled Nazi persecution can be …
These qualities - and more - explain why Pekelis has won a series of both elections and appointments to the bench over the years. She served seven years on the King County Superior Court and nine years on the state Court of Appeals and was named to the state Supreme Court last spring.
Election challenger Richard Sanders is a Bellevue lawyer and libertarian ideologue who specializes in representing landlords and developers. There’s an appropriate place in court for an advocate with a narrow agenda - at the counsel table, not on the bench.
Judges should be impartial. Plus, they need the common touch and common sense that come from a range of life experiences. Pekelis, whose professional honors and personal experiences could fill this page, has what the Supreme Court needs.
Rielly looks best in Superior Court contest
The race for a Spokane County Superior Court judgeship involves a more difficult choice. Both Neal Rielly and Dennis Dellwo could become fine judges. But Rielly is a qualified judge now, while Dellwo would need some time to get up to speed.
Rielly grew up on the poor side of the tracks in a single-parent home. He was an Army paratrooper, an iron worker, then worked his way through law school. His law practice specialized in domestic relations, and his skill in that realm prompted Spokane County’s judges to name him a Superior Court commissioner in 1985. His fairness as a decision-maker in minor Superior Court cases has earned strong support for his candidacy among local lawyers and judges.
Dellwo, though a practicing lawyer for 24 years, chose a different arena in which to demonstrate his fairness as an arbiter of disputes. During his 12 years as a 3rd District state representative, he became a respected leader in the Legislature.
But trial judges need up-to-date technical expertise that partisan legislative battles can’t provide - in the rules of evidence and so on. Rielly possesses that expertise.
It’s a close call between two good people, but on the basis of present qualifications, the scales tilt Rielly’s way.
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