Wiggins vs. Sanders – again

As the general election draws near for the State Supreme Court Justice Pos. 6, both incumbent Richard Sanders and Bainbridge Island attorney Charlie Wiggins feel they’ve distinguished themselves from their opponent and are poised for victory on Nov. 2 after the close primary race.

The argument between the two is much the same: Wiggins says Sanders lacks the integrity and impartiality of a judge, while Sanders says he is the essential voice for the people’s rights.

Sanders, who won the primary with 47 percent of the vote to Wiggins’ 40 percent, is running for his fourth term on the court.

Sanders, a libertarian, said he is the unique voice on the court who can challenge the other justices in their thinking and protect the rights of all citizens regardless of who the individuals are or their circumstances.

“I think it’s evident from the opinions I’ve written and the votes I’ve cast over the last 15 years, that I’m concerned that the courts or judges are too inclined to go along with government,” said Sanders. “We have to be concerned with the other branches of government overstepping their boundaries and we have to be concerned of the government becoming an oppressor. The people have to have a voice, and I represent them.”

Justice Sanders’ voting record is a note of contention for Wiggins, who feels Sanders often places his own view point on the cases and favors criminal defendants.

“Between me and Justice Sanders, I think I have the integrity, impartiality and independence we look for in a judge. I think he lacks those, which is the basic problem,” said Wiggins.

Wiggins said his experience in representing individuals from all angles and perspectives will help him put aside any prejudices and biases.

“I can be fair and I won’t be going to court with an agenda,” Wiggins said. “I consider cases openly.”

Sanders is endorsed by the state’s Republican and Libertarian parties as well as the Association of Washington Business and union members and The Washington Farm Bureau.

Wiggins is endorsed by 31 of the state’s 39 elected prosecuting attorneys, the state’s Democratic Party and the Washington Council of Police and Sheriffs.

Wiggins, who helped create the website votingforjudges.org, suggested voters use the site as an unbiased resource when voting.

Charlie Wiggins

Experience: Wiggins is a long-time island resident and has over thirty years experience as an attorney. He is a former Court of Appeals judge and has served as a pro tem superior court judge in King and Jefferson County.

What can you bring to the role of supreme court justice?

“I bring in a great deal of experience from the appellate and court process. I bring to the court my experiences in each of the areas where the court functions and needs a valuable perspective.”

What would your opponent say is your weakness?

“He would say I would be more favorably inclined towards the government. I am favorably inclined towards enforcing constitutional rights and the law as it is adopted by legislature. I am not in favor of judges reading the law artificially or strained in order to reach something they personally favor.”

Richard Sanders

Experience: Sanders has served on the Supreme Court since 1995. Sanders practiced also law for 26 years. Sanders has written many legal articles and opinions on constitutional rights.

What can you bring to the role of supreme court justice?

“Independence and the willingness to stand for the legal rights of our fellow citizens. My creativity and unique voice leads to a stronger court and a confidence from litigants who feel their rights will be considered. I’ve written more opinions in the last 15 years than any of my colleagues.”

What would your opponent say is your weakness?

“My opponent attacks me for sticking up for the rights of private citizens. I guess he wants to vote for government all the time. I think there should be a level playing field.”

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