One of only two right-leaning justices who has served on the Washington Supreme Court in recent years is in the battle of his life to regain his seat. As a result of his freedom of religion, sanctity of marriage, gun rights, and the unborn, former Justice Richard Sanders has been a lightening rod for attacks from the left and the biased media. Those attacks finally cost him reelection in 2010, after serving on the high court for three terms since 1995.
After he was sworn into office at the Washington Supreme Court in 1996, Sanders walked over to a pro-life rally at the State Capitol and briefly thanked the pro-lifers for their support. His enemies on the left complained and made him the subject of a long, drawn out expensive ethics investigation by the state judicial conduct commission, which reprimanded him. The Supreme Court refused to allow the Attorney General to represent him, forcing him to pay for his own defense. $92,479 in attorneys fees later, the reprimand was overturned by the Washington State Court of Appeals as a violation of free speech. Sanders was forced to sue the state to obtain reimbursement of his fees. The highly publicized ethics investigation went on for so long that ultimately his name and reputation were significantly damaged.
Once in the crosshairs of the left and the complicit liberal media, the attacks on Sanders continued. In 2003, he visited Washington's sexual predator center, then located at McNeil Island, in order to gain a better understanding of sex offenders, whose cases comprise some of the Supreme Court's docket. The Commission on Judicial Conduct admonished him for casually talking with a handful of inmates at the center, vaguely accusing him of violating “judicial impartiality” since some of the residents had active court cases.
Sanders came under attack again right before the 2010 election over remarks he made about race, likely costing him the election after the liberal media blew them up. The Seattle Times switched its endorsement of Sanders at the last minute to his opponent. The offending comment by Sanders? Blacks may be disproportionately incarcerated because they commit more crimes, rather than because the criminal-judicial system is biased. Later he clarified what he meant, but it was too late, "I would never say, nor do I believe, that people commit crimes because of their race."