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 3/3/20:
- 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
Justice Charles Wiggins has announced his retirement effective March 31, 2020. Governor Inslee will appoint a successor who will run for election in November 2020 to complete the remaining two years of Justice Wiggins' current term.
- Washington Court of Appeals Division I
Judge Ann Schindler retired effective December 31, 2019. Governor Inslee appointed King County Superior Court Judge Bill Bowman to replace her; he is subject to election in 2020.
Division I is seeking a Court Commissioner; applications due December 20, 2019. Details at www.courts.wa.gov/employ/docs/21995/Announcement.pdf.
- King County Superior Court
Attorney Nelson Lee was appointed February 18 by Governor Inslee to the vacant position on King County Superior Court that occurred when Judge Bill Bowman moved to the Court of Appeals.
Judge John Erlick has announced his upcoming retirement effective April 30, 2020; Governor Inslee is likely to appoint a replacement who will need to file a petition in May for election to a full term starting in 2021.
- Seattle Municipal Court
No current openings.
- King County District Court
Kevin Peck was appointed by the King County Council December 4 to fill the vacancy due to the recent death of Judge Peter Nault (Northeast Electoral District.
The Rumor Mill
KCBA expects a position to open on Seattle Municipal Court during the month of March; Mayor Durkan will then nominate a replacement judge. Stay tuned for details.