Speeches

Governor Gary Locke’s Remarks
Appointment to Pierce County Superior Court
May 13, 2004


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 todayís announcement.

Today I have the privilege of coming to Pierce County to appoint a new Superior Court judge. As a lawyer and former deputy prosecutor, the appointment of judges is something I take very, very seriously.

I strongly believe that our judges are among our stateís everyday heroes. They preside over cases that are monumental to the individuals before the court. Divorces, child custody, personal injuries, business disputes, and criminal cases are life altering to the people before the courts. Most cases are never appealed. So it is critical that we have quality judges making good decisions in our judicial system.

Judges make possible the peaceful, orderly and rational resolution of disputes.

Disputes in our nation are not settled by violence, civil war, or the military, but through a system based on reasoned principles. Our courtrooms are the fair and neutral forums in which grievances are heard and disagreements settled peacefully, in an orderly fashion, and based on rationality.

Therefore, our citizens deserve the best, brightest and hardest-working judges. Only through the appointment and election of quality judges can we build more respect for the judiciary, our judicial system, and our democracy.

When I became Governor, I resolved to treat judicial appointments with the importance they deserve and to appoint only highly qualified individuals. Because judges, once appointed, will serve for many years well beyond my terms as Governor.

I believe our judges here in Washington state rank among the best in the nation. Judges: you make us proud and confident about justice in our state.

Judge Van Deren

We are here today to appoint a replacement for Judge Marywave Van Deren who I recently appointed to the Court of Appeals, Division II, to replace Judge Karen Seinfeld.

Judge Van Deren was appointed to the bench in 1996. She has done a tremendous job adjudicating the difficult and important cases that come before the Superior Court.

I was pleased to appoint Judge Van Deren to the Court of Appeals. I know she will be just as successful there as she was in Superior Court. But we will miss her expertise and experience on the Pierce County Superior Court bench.
We thank Judge Van Deren for her service to the Superior Court, Pierce County.

Appoint Linda Lee

There were many excellent candidates to replace Judge Van Deren, making this a very, very difficult but satisfying decision.

Choosing from the talented pool of candidates was hard Ė very hard. We consulted with a lot of people:

∑ Members of the Pierce County Bar Association
∑ Judges of the Pierce County Superior Court, the Court of Appeals, and even the Supreme Court
∑ The Attorney Generalís Office
∑ And many others who have dealt with the candidates professionally.

Each of the candidates had different strengths and different backgrounds. But there was one candidate who had the just the right combination of expertise, intelligence and life experiences to fill this vacancy. So it is with great pleasure and honor that I hereby appoint Linda Lee to the Pierce County Superior Court.

Linda grew up in Hawaii. She attended the University of Hawaii. She received her bachelorís degree in psychology, and did some graduate work in that area as well. She also received her law degree from the University of Hawaii in 1991.

While in law school, Linda worked as a legal extern for the late Chief Judge Harold Fong of the U.S. District Court, a prestigious position for a law student.

After graduation, Linda took a position at a large firm in Tacoma. She began focusing on insurance law. Over the years she began representing individuals and corporations in complex litigation involving commercial, environmental, personal injury, property, and employment issues and health care.

Linda rose through the ranks quickly, becoming a principal in the firm after just four years of practice. And she was elected to the firmís board of directors after just two years as a partner, a testament to her legal and leadership abilities. Her successes include negotiating the largest age discrimination lawsuit settlement in the history of the state.

In addition to being a superb attorney, Linda is very active in the legal profession. She has been a leader in the state Asian Bar Association. She served as president of the organization in 1999, a rare distinction for an attorney outside of King County. She has been a member of the State Bar Associationís Committee on Diversity. And she has been an excellent mentor to young attorneys in the region.

Linda is also very involved in the community. She is on the board of the Pierce County Center for Dispute Resolution, the World Trade Center Tacoma, and the Chinese Reconciliation Project Foundation. She is a member of the American Leadership Forum, a national organization dedicated to developing strong leaders to benefit the community. And she regularly visits local schools to speak to students about the legal profession.

Linda is an extremely well-regarded, experienced lawyer. She has specialized in highly complex litigation and in a variety of different areas. She is both an outstanding attorney, and a community leader. Clearly, she has the legal skills, the demeanor, and the experience to be a top-notch Superior Court judge.

Congratulations, Linda, and welcome to the Pierce County Superior Court.

Would you like to say a few words?

(Opportunity for Appointee to Speak)

Thank you.

Our judiciary represents a tremendous amount of talent, experience, and wisdom. I am pleased to be adding Linda Lee to the Superior Court bench, a court that is so important to our citizens and our democracy.

Thank you.

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