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 2/22/19:

  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
    President Trump nominated attorney Eric D. Miller to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals during the summer of 2018, and a confirmation hearing was held 10/26/18 by the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee.  However the nomination did not receive further action before the end of the 115th Congress, so it was returned to the White House on 1/3/19 for re-nomination. President Trump renominated Mr. Miller on 1/23/19.  The nomination is pending on the Senate floor as of 2/14/19 with a cloture motion pending.

  • 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.

    Magistrate Judge James P. Donohue has announced his retirement; the Court announced on 11/15/18 that attorney Michelle L. Peterson will replace him effective 3/1/19.

  • Washington Court of Appeals Division I
    No openings anticipated.

  • King County Superior Court
    Judge Barbara Mack has announced her retirement effective January 11, 2019.  Judge Monica Benton has announced her retirement effective January 31, 2019.   Judge Wesley St. Clair has announced his retirement for the end of February 2019.  Judges Cheryl Carey and James Cayce are retiring April 1, 2019.  The Governor will appoint replacements for each of these judges.

    Commissioner Canada-Thurston has announced her retirement for the end of February. The position is appointed by the King County Superior Court bench; details will be posted here.

  • Seattle Municipal Court
    No openings anticipated.

  • King County District Court
    No openings anticipated.

The Rumor Mill
No additional rumors to report, everything above is confirmed.

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.

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