Nearly two years ago the authors prepared a report that reviewed recent cases by the Washington Supreme Court in order to help people answer for themselves the question: “[h]as the court recognized the proper role of the judiciary in interpreting and applying the laws enacted and enforced by other branches of government, or has the court over-extended itself, usurping powers belong to the other branches or infringing rights reserved to the people themselves?”

When that report went to press, media news coverage focused on the unprecedented spending on contested races for seats on the Washington Supreme Court. While many commentators zeroed in on campaign spending and the tenor of campaign advertising, many missed the most important issue: why had judicial races suddenly generated a willingness to spend large amounts of money to retain or unseat a member of the Washington Supreme Court? What had the court done to arouse such interest?