Washington Supreme Court

Franz Jantzen / Supreme Court website

The Washington Supreme Court has found the state legislature in contempt. That order issued Thursday is just the latest twist in the ongoing McCleary school funding lawsuit.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

The getaway driver in the murders of four Lakewood police officers is seeking a new trial. The case has made it to the Washington Supreme Court and today the justices heard arguments.


Washington Supreme Court

The state of Washington now has until the end of the year to stop “boarding” mental health patients in non-psychiatric hospital beds. The Supreme Court Friday granted a 120-day stay in a ruling that declared the practice of boarding illegal.

This basically buys the state some breathing room. The Department of Social and Health Services will now have until December 26th to open 145 new psychiatric beds across the state. Governor Jay Inslee has freed up $30 million for the effort. As of late last month, about 200 patients were being boarded in non-psychiatric beds.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Washington Governor Jay Inslee says the legislature has not “acted appropriately” in the face of the McCleary decision on school funding. But he cautioned the state Supreme Court Thursday not to impose sanctions that would penalize other areas of state government. The governor’s comments came one day after the high court held a hearing to consider whether to hold the state in contempt. 


Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Wednesday in a historic hearing that could result in sanctions against the state legislature.


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The Washington Supreme Court recently ruled it’s illegal for the state to “board” mental health patients in emergency rooms and regular hospital beds. The state of Washington said late Friday it can open 145 new psychiatric beds, but it needs some additional time. The Attorney General has now asked the Supreme Court to “stay” its ruling for 120-days.

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The practice of “boarding” mental health patients in hospital emergency rooms is unlawful. That’s the unanimous ruling Thursday from the Washington Supreme Court. The justices upheld a lower court ruling in the case of 10 psychiatric patients. They were involuntarily detained under state law and then placed in non-psychiatric beds. Emily Cooper is an attorney with Disability Rights Washington. She calls the ruling a victory for severely mentally ill patients.

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If you happen to get arrested over the weekend in Washington, your right to a bail bondsman has just been upheld by the state Supreme Court.

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A Washington man whose loaded gun went off in a school backpack critically injuring a student can’t be charged with third degree assault. That’s the ruling Thursday from the Washington Supreme Court. The split decision stems from a high-profile case in 2012 in Bremerton.

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Police in Washington can “stop and frisk” individuals they have specific reason to believe may be armed. But if that search goes beyond a “brief and nonintrusive” search then it’s unconstitutional. That’s the finding of the Washington Supreme Court Thursday.

State High Court Hears Pyschiatric Boarding Case

Jun 26, 2014
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Parking mentally ill patients in the ER is controversial yet common. Now the state Supreme Court is considering whether that’s constitutional.

Cacophany / Wikimedia

Should SeaTac’s voter-approved $15 an hour minimum wage apply to airport workers? Washington’s Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on that question Thursday. The case pits airport vendors, Alaska Airlines and the Port of Seattle against supporters of the higher wage.

Washington Legislature

The Washington Supreme Court could hold state lawmakers in contempt over school funding. But is the high court overstepping its bounds? A Republican-led legislative panel held a hearing Monday on separation of powers.

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A frustrated Washington Supreme Court appears ready to hold state officials in contempt. The high court late Thursday ordered the “state” to appear at a hearing in September to address the lack of a plan to fully fund basic education. The court’s highly unusual move follows a 2012 ruling that the state isn’t meeting its constitutional obligation to school children. Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins has details.

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Washington employers must “reasonably” accommodate the religious practices of their employees. That’s the ruling of the Washington Supreme Court Thursday in a case that split the justices 5-4. The case involves four men employed by a company that makes meals for airline passengers at Sea-Tac.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

The Washington Supreme Court has its first openly gay, Asian-American, Latina justice. Former King County Superior Court Judge Mary Yu was sworn-in Tuesday. Yu will run in November to finish out the term of retiring Justice Jim Johnson. Like a lot of appointed judges this year, Yu faces no opposition on the ballot.

Inslee Appoints First Openly Gay Supreme Court Justice

May 1, 2014
Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

The Washington Supreme Court will soon have its first openly gay justice. Governor Jay Inslee appointed King County Judge Mary Yu to replace retiring Justice Jim Johnson. Yu is also the first Asian-American and first Latina to serve as a Washington justice.

Washington’s 60-day legislative session is approaching the halfway mark, but divergent agendas are likely to result in a lot of proposals dying when they cross the Rotunda to the other chamber.

Billions of dollars are at stake as the Washington Supreme Court considers a pair of pension cases. Oral arguments were Thursday.

Courtney Flatt / Northwest Public Radio

The Supreme Court of Washington heard oral arguments in a case that could change how cities, towns and universities manage water. Northwest conservation groups are suing Washington State University. They say it’s draining the region’s aquifer.

The Washington State Supreme Court Thursday heard arguments in a case that could decide whether faith-based employers have some exemption from the state’s anti-discrimination law.

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Washington Democrats say it’s a victory for democracy. Republicans call it a defeat for taxpayers. In a major decision Thursday, the Washington Supreme Court tossed out the state’s two-thirds supermajority requirement for raising taxes. In a 6-3 decision, the court ruled that the voter-approved law violates a provision of the Washington state constitution that requires a simple majority vote in the state legislature to approve bills.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The Washington Supreme Court is expected to rule Thursday in a case that challenges the two-thirds requirement for tax hikes. A lower court judge previously found the supermajority rule unconstitutional.

If the two-thirds majority for tax hikes which Washington voters have repeatedly approved -- most recently in November with nearly a two-thirds vote -- is thrown out by the court, then really the only remedy for supporters is to try to get a constitutional amendment passed to actually enshrine it in the constitution. That is no easy feat.

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Under Washington law, is a consumer entitled to emotional distress damages when a fast-food employee spits in his or her hamburger, even though the consumer did not eat the hamburger? The Washington Supreme Court Thursday said the answer is possibly “yes.”

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The chief justice of the Washington Supreme Court wants state lawmakers to fund video translation for people in court who don’t speak English. Chief Justice Barbara Madsen told a joint session of the state legislature Wednesday that a remote interpreter service would be less expensive than having a translator present.

She says courts currently have certified interpreters for only 35 languages.

WA Supreme Court Issues New Jury Rulings

Nov 22, 2012

The Supreme Court of Washington issued a series of rulings  on jury selection, isssuing opinions on four cases in one day. They all had to do with how courts and judges interact with jurors.

Washington Courts website

The Washington State Supreme Court has unanimously upheld the state's toxic cleanup tax. A ruling issued Thursday turns aside a challenge from gas station owners.

Cacophony / Wikipedia

The Washington Supreme Court Thursday weighed in on long-running case that has implications for labor shortages at Northwest farms and orchards. The high court unanimously upheld a costly damage award against a farm labor contractor that brought in guest workers from Thailand.

Washington Courts

There’s more evidence that a Hispanic last name on the ballot can hurt a candidate’s chances. A statistical analysis released Wednesday reveals patterns of racially polarized voting in a Supreme Court race on Washington’s August primary.

Washington State Courts website

The fate of Washington’s two-thirds requirement for tax hikes is now in the hands of the state Supreme Court. The justices Tuesday heard oral arguments in a constitutional challenge to the supermajority threshold.

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