Chief Justices giving an annual State of The Judiciary speech is hardly a novel idea. Many states have the tradition, and some of those speeches are even memorable. But there will be no State of the Judiciary in Washington State in 2015.
The Olympian reports:
Chief Justice Barbara Madsen of the Washington state Supreme Court won’t be giving her State of the Judiciary speech next month to the Legislature. Lawmakers have decided to not set aside time for the address, a move that could easily be seen as a slap at the court for its finding the Legislature in contempt this year in a landmark school funding case.
That’s not the reason, legislators say. They cite poor attendance at past addresses from the court and the number of other joint sessions that the legislative calendar has to accommodate as reasons for not extending an invitation this time.
Madsen expressed disappointment but said she will still give her report in writing.
“The State of the Judiciary address has been a tradition in Washington state for several decades now. It has served as a positive tool to inform the Legislature and the public about the state of Washington’s justice system,” Madsen said in a written statement to The Olympian and The News Tribune. “I hope that, in the future, the Supreme Court will again be invited to make this important presentation.”
The two branches of government have been at odds since the court ruled in 2012 that the Legislature was failing to meet the state’s paramount constitutional duty: to fully fund basic education. One major sticking point in school funding is the state’s growing reliance on local levies, which are supported unequally by different districts’ voters.
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