Friday, October 5, 2012
Sheryl Gordon McCloud is the superior choice to fill the open seat on the state Supreme Court now held by retiring Justice Tom Chambers.
McCloud is a trial attorney who has argued extensively before the state’s high court as well as other appeals courts over the past 25 years. It’s clear she has a keen legal mind, a great deal of experience handling complex cases and the right temperament to sit on the high court.
Her opponent, former-Justice Richard Sanders, brings a libertarian bent and interesting perspectives to the law. He also has a keen mind.
Sanders served on the court for 14 years and generally did a good job. However, he has a penchant for unnecessarily becoming embroiled in controversy.
Sanders has been a polarizing figure on the court. For example, his attendance at a pro-life rally was rightly questioned and he came under fire for speaking about a pending case with sex offenders being held at McNeil Island.
Sanders approaches the law in a literal fashion. He doesn’t see shades of gray particularly well. His unbending approach to the law is not always productive.
If elected, Sanders would serve the people and his views would add some value to the debate.
But we see McCloud as the better choice because of what she would bring to the court.
Of the current justices on the court, few have the extensive criminal law background of McCloud. While her civil experience is more limited, it is significant enough that she could hit the ground running. She is highly rated by the major bar associations.
McCloud, at 56, could serve three six-year terms before reaching the court’s mandatory retirement age of 75. Sanders, at 67, could serve only this term if elected.
In the final analysis, we see McCloud as the better choice for all she will bring to the high court. Her compassion, reasoning skills and deep understanding of the law will make her an excellent Supreme Court justice.