Openings for Appointment or Election

The following are all current openings known to KCBA for judicial positions subject to election by King County voters or appointment in our region. Most will be subject first to appointment by the Governor, County Council, or local city council. The bar recommends that attorneys interested in a judicial career obtain evaluation ratings from KCBA well in advance of the appearance of a vacancy on this page. Generally speaking, appointing authorities publish notice of a vacancy to solicit interest from attorneys with existing ratings. The bar's process, which relies on the availability of volunteer attorneys to conduct evaluations, can take up to 3 months from the date an applicant submits an application for rating. It is very unlikely that a rating can be issued on short notice.

To learn more about our process, select the "Judicial Candidate Evaluation Rating Process" link from the menu bar on the right side of this page.

Current & Upcoming Openings as of 10/10/19:

  • U.S. District Court for Western District of Washington
    Two nominations were reportedly being made in the summer of 2018 by President Trump to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington for attorneys Kathleen O'Sullivan and Tessa Gorman, but neither was officially submitted by the White House for Senate consideration.  The White House is reportedly vetting candidates for a third U.S. District Court opening but has not yet announced a nomination.

  • Washington Supreme Court
    Chief Justice Mary Fairhurst has announced her retirement effective January 5, 2020. Governor Inslee is expected to appoint a replacement justice who would be subject to election in 2020.

  • Washington Court of Appeals Division I
    Judge Ann Schindler has announced her retirement effective December 31.  Governor Inslee will appoint a replacement judge who would be subject to election in 2020.

  • King County Superior Court
    No openings anticipated.

  • Seattle Municipal Court
    No openings anticipated.

  • King County District Court
    A vacancy has occurred due to the recent death of Judge Peter Nault (Northeast Electoral District; applications due to the Council by October 14.  Details available here.

The Rumor Mill
Nothing to report at this time.

Working to improve the administration of justice is an important part of the King County Bar Association’s mission.

KCBA has evaluated and rated judicial performance since 1948 through surveys of current judicial officers, ratings for those seeking appointment or election to the bench, and monitoring of fair campaign practices and hosting of candidate forums.

Judicial Candidate Evaluation Ratings Process
Fair Campaign Practices Guidelines
Judicial Officer Surveys
Current Judicial Openings
Candidate Forum Archives