Who’s the Bigger Tool, Rumbaugh or Johnson?

The battle for the Washington Supreme Court seat held by Jim Johnson is rallying LGBT interests. Johnson famously wrote an opinion upholding the state legislature’s ban on gay marriage. But he’s also peeved unions and consumer groups with decisions they don’t like. (The Stranger‘s cover last week declared Johnson a “conservative tool.”) Understandably, these groups are seeking an alternative.

Johnson’s challenger, Stan Rumbaugh, runs a small law firm in Tacoma that represents employees in workers’-comp disputes. He’s been on the board of Planned Parenthood, the Tacoma Housing Authority, and Bates Technical College. A search of court records indicates he has participated (alongside other attorneys) in exactly two previous cases before the state Supreme Court. And he’s now the beneficiary of attack ads against Johnson, funded by the teachers’ union, the government employees’ union, and the Washington State Labor Council, who think he’ll be friendlier to them. Rumbaugh is, in other words, pretty much the definition of a tool.

Rumbaugh’s allies, however, seem blind to the irony.

Johnson has shown a clear “pattern of ruling in favor of the interests who have funded his campaigns,” complained Lisa MacLean, spokesperson for union-funded PACs, in the Spokesman-Review. She and her allies say it’s time for a change. They instead want a man who will also show a clear pattern of ruling in favor of the interests who have funded his campaign—namely, them.

It’s Tool vs. Tool. May the best impartial upholder of the law win.

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