Court upholds election of Thurston County judge

OLYMPIA — The Washington Supreme Court has ruled that Superior Court judges need not reside in the county they represent to be eligible for office.

The decision upholds the election of Christine Schaller as a Thurston County Superior Court judge. Schaller was appointed Thurston County Superior Court commissioner in 2005. She ran for and won an open judgeship this year.

A Thurston County resident sued to challenge Schaller’s candidacy because she is a resident of Pierce County. The Thurston County Superior Court rejected that argument, and the state Supreme Court upheld the decision Thursday.

The state constitution only requires Superior Court judges to be state residents and qualified to practice law in Washington. For that reason, the court ruled, a state law requiring county residency for county elected office does not apply.

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