Washington State Supreme Court justice Richard B. Sanders describes himself as a defender of civil rights and civil liberties even though he’s anti-choice, was “not a fan” of Martin Luther King Jr., once showed up at a party in a Nazi uniform, and in 2006, signed an opinion denying marriage equality to gay couples—because they have “more sexual partners” and because other courts have found that monogamy is “the bedrock upon which our culture is built.” Meanwhile, he’s been divorced twice, and this election season it became clear he has multiple simultaneous girlfriends.
Eli's piece begins at an event organized by the 43rd District Democrats last spring. After the panel discussion featuring Justice Sanders, someone in the crowd, Michael Maddux, approaches Justice Sanders.
Maddux had helped organize the evening and, after it was over, went up to Justice Sanders and thanked him for driving all the way up from Olympia. According to Maddux, Justice Sanders replied: "Well, it's not a big deal—my girlfriend lives in Wallingford. I'm just staying over with her tonight."
When Maddux ran into Justice Sanders a few months later at the state Democratic Party convention in Vancouver, Washington, he walked up to say hello to Justice Sanders and the woman he was with. "This is my girlfriend," Justice Sanders said.
Maddux shook her hand and said, "How's Wallingford?"
She replied, "I'm in Bellevue."
An awkward moment passed.
The next day at the convention, Maddux ran into the girlfriend again and she gave him a card that identified her as "campaign coordinator" for Justice Sanders's reelection effort. Then, according to Maddux, she said something like: "I know that yesterday was a little awkward when you asked me if I live in Wallingford. I just want to let you know that I live in Bellevue, but his other girlfriend lives in Wallingford." Maddux recounted, "Then she explains to me how there's Bellevue girlfriend, and sometimes the Wallingford girlfriend will go with him to events, but she doesn't really like political events, but Bellevue girlfriend does like political events, plus she works on his campaign, so more often Bellevue girlfriend and him, they go to events."
Maddux added, "They both know about each other, Bellevue girlfriend and Wallingford girlfriend. I was like, 'Wow, he's a fucking player.'"