Judge Gonzalez and Governor Gregoire
  • Washington State Governor's Office
  • Judge Gonzalez and Governor Gregoire
At the Temple of Justice in Olympia a short time ago, Governor Chris Gregoire appointed King County Superior Court Judge Steven Gonzalez to the Washington State Supreme Court.

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He will replace the retiring Justice Gerry Alexander, who at 75 is being forced out by the court's age limits.

Gregoire praised Gonzalez's worldliness and smarts (he is fluent in Chinese, Japanese, and Spanish), and promised he will be "a great colleague to his eight fellow justices.” He brings to the position experience as a domestic violence prosecutor (for the City of Seattle), a federal prosecutor (he worked on the Ahmed Ressam prosecution in 2001), and a superior court judge (he's been with King County Superior Court since 2002).

Accepting the appointment, Gonzalez spoke of a humble beginning working as a janitor during high school in California, and later cleaning public restrooms in the parks in his city. “I think the restrooms were a very good reason for me to want to go to college," he told the crowd.

He thanked his family and his mother for their support, saying his mom often claims he learned justice at her knee. "I learned it there, and maybe at some other joint," Gonzalez quipped.

He will be the first Latino ever to serve on the high court, and he spoke of wanting to help renew Washingtonians' faith that "no matter who you are when you appear before a court the outcome will be just and one you can believe in." He also pronounced today a personal dream come true. “I would pinch myself," Gonzalez said, "but if it’s a dream I don’t want to wake.”

Gonzalez's appointment will take effect after Justice Alexander officially retires on Dec. 31. Then, in the fall of 2012, Gonzalez will have to stand for election.