Washblog

Religious Right wants Stephen Johnson on WA Supreme Court

This is third in a series of posts I have written on Stephen Johnson, Senator for Washington's 47th Legislative District, where I live.  Senator Johnson is leaving the legislature to run for state Supreme Court.  My first two posts are as follows:

  1. Stephen Johnson and BIAW Team up to Reshape Washington's Supreme Court
  2. WA Supreme Court Candidate to 5th graders: "I'd get rid of all the Democrats"

Stephen Johnson would like to replace incumbent Susan Owens as a Washington Supreme Court justice.  As he's never been a judge, it is natural for voters to turn to his 12-year record in Washington's Senate for a hint on what we might expect if he is elected.  Johnson makes two reassuring claims about that record.  First, as he says in the August, 2006 Seattle PI Podcast, he has a "moderate to conservative voting record."   Second, he says that his judicial philosophy -- one of restraint  -- will not be affected by his legislative philosophy.  But the public record shows that Johnson is one of Washington's most conservative Republican senators and that he has amply signalled to the Religious Right -- in order to gain their support for this election -- that he is their philosophical friend.

Johnson suggests we look the other way and not judge his judicial future on his legislative past.  However, he has amply signalled to religious, business, and other groups that his legislative record demonstrates he is their philosophical friend.  He's done this a bit on the quiet -- as far as the Religious Right goes. None of the groups below are listed on the Endorsements page of Johnson's campaign site. Here are some little snippets to consider:

JOHNSON TELLS LIFEPAC: 'LOOK AT MY LEGISLATIVE RECORD!'
"I am alone among all the candidates for the judiciary in having an extensive legislative record over a period of 12 years during which time I have voted on policy issues which I know to be of great interest to you, including the Defense of Marriage Act of 1998..."
Letter from Stephen Johnson to LIFEPAC of Southwest Washington, 8/11/06
http://lifepac.org/2006candidates/johnsons.htm#clpac

 

JOHNSON TELLS SEATTLE PI -- 'DON'T LOOK AT MY LEGISLATIVE RECORD!'
Question by PI interviewer:  Senator, if you were running for reelection to the Senate it would be obvious fair game to look at your voting record in the Senate as a way to determine how you might vote again in the Senate. Is that a fair way to gauge your candidacy for Supreme Court?

Answer by Stephen Johnson:  "Not so much the record, but I think the way the person went at the job of being in the Senate is more critical..  Because the jobs are different.   I mean, being a legislator, I've taken thousands of votes, and that's what I was hired to do by the people of my district....  When you move across the flag circle you're supposedly no longer legislating.  I tell people I think I know the difference because I've been legislating.

Question by PI interviewer: I've got to follow up a bit on the voting record.  Because your response to this Faith and Freedom Network among other things was:  "I've served as elected Senator for 12 years and therefore have a voting record on matters that are raised by your questionnaire and may be of interest to you."  And you cite a Senate bill having to do with charter schools... and then House Bill 2661, expanding the jurisdiction of the Human Rights Commission Act, also known as the "gay rights bill".   You voted no on that.  I guess what I'm trying to get at is, why was it important to reference those votes in response to their question?

Answer by Stephen Johnson:  "...  In the questionnaire, they asked me about a number of (US) Supreme Court cases that dealt with those issues.  And I didn't want to respond to those cases.  I knew those subjects interesting to them.  And I knew I had a public record as a policymaker.  That's no indication of how I would rule on a case.
From Seattle PI Podcast of interview with Stephen Johnson, 8/23/06.
August, 2006 PI Interview with Stephen Johnson.

Now let's look at what some issue - based groups have to say about Senator Johnson:



ENDORSEMENTS AND HIGH SCORES FROM THE RELIGIOUS RIGHT
ORGANIZATIONORGANIZATIONAL MISSION OR STATEMENTRATING OR ENDORSEMENT
HUMAN LIFE
August, 2006 Candidate Endorsements
Our mission is to reestablish throughout our culture, the recognition that all beings of human origin are persons endowed with intrinsic dignity and the inalienable right to life from conception to natural death.Stephen Johnson is endorsed by HUMAN LIFE
CHRISTIAN COALITION
Christian Coalition
America's leading grassroots organization defending our Godly heritage.Stephen Johnson has a 100% rating from the Christian Coalition, according to the PI.
FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL
Family Research Council 2006 Washington State Supreme Court Voters Guide
The Family Research Council (FRC) champions marriage and family as the foundation of civilization, the seedbed of virtue, and the wellspring of society. FRC shapes public debate and formulates public policy that values human life and upholds the institutions of marriage and the family. Believing that God is the author of life, liberty, and the family, FRC promotes the Judeo-Christian worldview as the basis for a just, free, and stable society.FRC Voters Guide does not state endorsements.  Johnson's answers to their Voters Guide reflects their values.  He cites his endorsement by Faith and Freedom Network, states that Ronald Reagan and William H. Renquist most closely match his political and judicial philosophy,  and disagrees with a recent Supreme Court decision that allows the homosexual partners of a children's biological parents to petition for rights as a parent in Washington State.
JUDICIAL FORUM
Judicial Forum 2006 Short List Endorsements
"Setting the Standard for Attorneys and Judges According to Biblical Definitions of Law and Civil Government"Judicial Forum rates Johnson as "Good".  They note that he has "strange bedfellows in the education arena" and "leans toward the state while espousing individual liberties" but that he is "still the best candidate for this seat."
LIFEPAC
LifePac home page
LifePac exists to support "Family Friendly Candidates" - which means candidates who oppose abortion.LifePac Recommends Stephen Johnson
WASHINGTON EAGLE FORUM
WA Eagle Forum Judicial Voters Guide, 2006
Eagle Forum's Mission is to enable conservative and pro-family men and women to participate in the process of self-government and public policy making so that America will continue to be a land of individual liberty, respect for family integrity, public and private virtue, and private enterprise. Washington Eagle Forum Endorses Stephen Johnson
FAITH AND FREEDOM NETWORK
A Faith & Family Perspective: Candidates for Supreme Court
People of faith, their churches and their organizations have been pressed into even greater action by the issues surrounding gay marriage, the removal of the Ten Commandments, and other Judeo-Christian expressions of faith from our public life.  FFN adapted to the current needs and demands. It led in organizing the second largest rally in the history of Olympia, Washington, the 2004 March 8th Mayday for Marriage Rally, attended by over 7,000 people in support of authentic, Biblical marriage. We cannot endorse candidates ... but we can educate voters....  Unfortunately, we value voters  were not successful in replacing two of the Washington State Supreme Court Justices in the recent primary election.  However, there is still opportunity to replace one, Susan Owens, who has a long and consistent liberal, secularist voting record on the Court.  Stephen Johnson:  100% Pro-Life voting record; 100% rating with the Conservative Coalition; Voted "No" on the gay rights HB 2661; Social Issues Endorsements: Pro Life groups.
WASHINGTON CONSERVATIVE UNION
Washington Conservative Union Legislative Ratings
Support for "free markets, limited government and confidence in traditional moral values." 95% cumulative rating - top 5 Senators

 


LOW SCORES ON CIVIL RIGHTS, ENVIRONMENT, AND EDUCATION
ORGANIZATIONORGANIZATIONAL MISSION OR STATEMENTRATING OR ENDORSEMENT
WASHINGTON STATE PARENT TEACHER ASSOCIATION
Project Vote Smart
We are people of all ages improving the education, safety, and health of children. Join us in building a better world for children. Supported WA PTA positions 25% in 2005
WASHINGTON EDUCATION ASSOCIATION
Project Vote Smart
WEA serves Washington students and its members as a leader in statewide and local school improvement programs, training WEA members and assisting school districts on education reform issues. Johnson supported WEA positions  27% in 2005
SIERRA CLUB - CASCADE CHAPTER
Sierra Club - Cacade Chapter 2006 Legislative Report Card
The Sierra Club is the nation's oldest, largest, and most influential grassroots environmental organization. The Cascade Chapter is its voice for most of Washington State. Our members are some 30,000 of your friends and neighbors. Inspired by nature, we work together to protect our communities and the planet.Sierra Club endorses the incumbent, Susan Owens, whom Johnson is challenging.  In 2006 Sierra Club - Cascade Chapter gave Senator Johnson a rating of C
WASHINGTON CONSERVATION VOTERS
Washington Conservation Voters
Washington Conservation Voters works to protect both our jobs and our environment for generations to come by advocating for strong conservation policy and electing and supporting candidates for public office who will fight to protect our land, air and water. WCV endorses the incumbent, Susan Owens, whom Johnson is challenging.  Johnson voted against cleaning up Puget Sound (SB 6508) and energy independence through renewable fuels (SB 1458), two of the three WCV legislative priorities that won in the legislature.
WASHINGTON PUBLIC INTEREST RESEARCH GROUP
Project Vote Smart
When consumers are cheated, or our natural environment is threatened, or the voices of ordinary citizens are drowned out by special interest lobbyists, WashPIRG speaks up and takes action. We uncover threats to public health and well-being and fight to end them, using the time-tested tools of investigative research, media exposés, grassroots organizing, advocacy and litigation.Johnson supported this organization's issues 22 percent in 2004 and 20% in 2003
AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION OF WASHINGTON
Project Vote Smart
The Bill of Rights would only be well-meaning promises if people did not fight to protect it. The ACLU is the nation's premiere organization dedicated to defending and expanding all civil liberties and civil rights in America. Our job is to conserve America's original civic values - the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.17% voting record in 1998, 14% in 1997.  No ratings since then.
< Keeping up with the MyDDs and dKoses | Appeal for Redress by U.S. Troops to Congress - The Call of US Troops for Iraq Withdrawal >
<FORM NAME="commentmode" ACTION="/#" METHO