Associate Justice Jim Johnson’s overwhelming victory in Tuesday’s primarily election secures his seat for another term on Washington State’s Supreme Court, while Justice Richard Sanders will face a run-off in November.
In the Evergreen State’s gun rights community, Johnson and Sanders are viewed as the pillars of sanity when it comes to Article 1, Section 24 of the State Constitution, not to mention the recently-incorporated Second Amendment. Here is a pair of justices who recognized long before the U.S. Supreme Court made it the law of the land that the Second Amendment did apply to the states, through the 14th Amendment.
It was a ruling handed down earlier this year in State v. Christopher William Sieyes. Sanders wrote the majority opinion and Johnson issued a separate opinion that concurred in part and dissented in part, and it was Johnson’s dissent that got everyone’s attention. He didn’t feel that the majority opinion was strong enough in its affirmation of firearm civil rights, and he held that challenges to this right, like other civil rights, should be subject to strict scrutiny.
Johnson was targeted by special interests and liberal advocacy groups with lots of union money to spend, according to the on-line Seattle Post-Intelligencer. His reputation was smeared, he was called a tool of special interests (Note: When someone supports your “special interest” he is working for the people. When someone follows the rule of law, against your agenda, he is a tool of “special interests.”) So far, 63 percent of the voters, which is a landslide by some definitions, stuck with Johnson. His challenger made it clear a couple of weeks ago that he is an activist anti-gunner, which this column revealed here.
Having Johnson and Sanders on the state high court will be important if the City of Seattle’s appeal in the lawsuit by the Second Amendment Foundation and National Rifle Association striking down the city’s illegal parks gun ban survives the appellate court.
Republican Dino Rossi will challenge anti-gun Democrat Sen. Patty Murray – one of Capitol Hill’s most lockstep Liberals – in November. Much is being made of Rossi’s preliminary 34 percent showing against Murray’s 46 percent vote, but add in the 12 percent that went with Clint Didier in the primary, and the smaller number who voted for Paul Akers – votes that will likely go to Rossi in the general election because Didier and Akers backers are passionate about their intent to throw Murray out – and you have essentially a dead heat.
For Washington gun owners, putting Murray out of office is a priority. She has never in her three terms represented their interests in Washington, D.C.
The Rossi-Murray battle will bring conservative voters out of the woodwork in November. That could mean a victory for Sanders in the Supreme Court race, and vice versa. The overwhelming support shown for Johnson suggests that conservative Washington State voters are ready to be heard.
Washington’s Third District appears destined to swing Republican again now that Democrat Brian Baird is calling it quits. Up north, incumbent Democrat Rick Larsen is being strongly challenged by pro-gun Republican John Koster, but down in the 1st District, incumbent anti-gun Democrat Jay Inslee’s 57 percent showing demonstrates that challenger Jim Watkins needs to work a lot harder.
The outlook for November is suggestive of major Republican/conservative victories and perhaps a change in director and leadership for Congress. Gun owners will play a key role in this fall’s elections, because two Supreme Court victories on the Second Amendment could easily be in peril, and gun owners know it.
Ever since April 2009, when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi revealed that she wants to register so-called “assault weapons,” which this column discussed here, the firearms community has been wary. For people like Pelosi, registration of a certain class of firearms is merely a first step, to determine whether registration of all firearms might be someday possible.