Governor Gary Locke’s Remarks
Appointment to Pierce Co. Superior Court
April 7, 2003
Thank you Judge Orlando for that kind introduction.
It is a pleasure to be here today.
I appreciate all of you taking time out of your busy schedules to attend today’s announcement.
Today I have the privilege of coming to Pierce County to appoint a new Superior Court judge.
Some of you may be feeling like you are experiencing déjà vu, since I was just here a few weeks ago for Judge Culpepper’s appointment.
But this isn’t like the movie Groundhog Day; we have a new vacancy to fill on the Superior Court.
As a lawyer and former deputy prosecutor, the appointment of judges is something I take very, very seriously.
I have a deep and abiding commitment to the independence and integrity of the judicial branch of our government.
Yet our judges, who sustain that independence and integrity in the eyes of the public, receive very little recognition.
There is too little understanding of the complex decisions they must make everyday.
I strongly believe that our judges are among our state’s everyday heroes.
Their work is so very important, because they preside over cases that are monumental to the individuals before the court.
Marriage dissolutions, child custody, personal injuries, business disputes, and criminal cases are life altering to the people before the courts.
Therefore, our citizens deserve the best, brightest and hardest-working judges.
Only through the appointment of quality judges can we build more respect for the judiciary, our judicial system, and our democracy.
Recently I saw a U.S. chamber of Commerce study that ranked Washington State judges in the top 5 in both competence and impartiality.
This is a testament to all of you.
You make us proud and confidant about justice in our state.
In order to maintain this high quality, we look long and hard for individuals with demonstrated leadership ability and skills to adapt to the wide demands placed on a Superior Court judge.
But before I announce our new appointee, I would like to say a few words about Judge Karen Strombom, who is leaving the Superior Court.
Judge Strombom has been appointed to an eight-year term as a federal magistrate judge.
The federal court’s gain is definitely a loss for the Pierce County Superior Court.
After graduating from the UW school of law (but not our UW, the one in Wisconsin), she worked in private practice for 12 years.
In 1990, she was appointed to the Superior Court by Governor Booth Gardner.
Judge Strombom has been very active in the administration of the Superior Court.
She has served as presiding judge and on the executive committee.
One of her biggest contributions was as the head of a committee reviewing the handling of family law cases.
Important changes were implemented based on the committee’s work.
Judge Strombom will be enjoying hearing federal cases for the Western Washington district court! We’re all happy for elevation to the federal judiciary.
We greatly appreciate Judge Strombom’s years on the Superior Court bench; she will be missed. We thank her for her service to the Pierce County Superior Court.
Appoint Beverly Grant
The search to replace Judge Strombom was grueling and competitive.
There were many excellent candidates, making this a very difficult but satisfying decision.
First and foremost, we needed someone with unquestionably solid legal skills and experience.
Someone with the temperament and wisdom to bring efficient, understandable justice to the people.
Choosing from the talented pool of candidates was hard.
We consulted with a lot of people regarding this appointee:
· Leaders and members of the Pierce County Bar Association
· Judges of the Superior, Appeals, and Supreme Court
· The Attorney General
· The Pierce County Prosecutor and the Public Defenders
· And many others who have dealt with the candidates professionally.
Each of the candidates had different strengths and different backgrounds.
There was one candidate who had the just the right combination of experience, intelligence and life experiences to fill this vacancy.
It is with great pleasure and honor that I hereby appoint Beverly Grant to the Pierce County Superior Court.
Beverly is a native of Pierce County.
She attended UW (in this case, the right one, here in Washington!) for both her undergraduate and legal education.
She was admitted to the Washington bar in 1978.
Beverly has over 25 years of experience in the legal system.
After law school, she served as senior law clerk for Judge Jack Tanner.
She then worked in private practice in Tacoma for sixteen years.
Beverly specialized in Federal civil litigation, criminal defense, and Indian matters involving land disputes and religious practices.
Since 1996, she has been practicing with her husband, Artis.
Their firm emphasizes sexual harassment, employment litigation, and business and federal litigation matters.
Beverly is very active in the community and various bar groups.
She has been involved with the Tacoma Urban League, the Loren Miller Bar Association, the Washington State Trial Lawyers Association, and Washington Women Lawyers.
Beverly has received tremendous support from attorneys and judges throughout Pierce County.
She has been rated “Exceptionally Well-Qualified” by the Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney’s Association.
Clearly, she has the legal skills, the demeanor, and the experience to be a top-notch judge.
Congratulations, Beverly, and welcome to the Pierce County Superior Court.
Would you like to say a few words?
Our judiciary represents a tremendous amount of talent, experience, and wisdom.
I am pleased to be adding Beverly Grant to a branch of government that is so important to our democratic system.