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Regional News

Washington Supreme Court strikes down effort to recall Governor Jay Inslee

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announces the closing of all K-12 schools in three Washington counties on Thursday, March 12, 2020. The closure was extended statewide on Friday for at least six weeks. CREDIT: Rachel La Corte/AP
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announces the closing of all K-12 schools in three Washington counties on Thursday, March 12, 2020. The closure was extended statewide on Friday for at least six weeks. CREDIT: Rachel La Corte/AP

The Washington State Supreme Court unanimously struck down an effort to recall Washington Governor Jay Inslee in a ruling Thursday.

The group that proposed the recall said in its petition that they were harmed by Inslee’s pandemic proclamations - barring gatherings, evictions and in-person public meetings. The group argued that in making those decisions, Inslee violated the US Constitution.

Members of the Washington Supreme Court disagreed. In their dismissal, the justices said Inslee’s proclamations were within his emergency powers. They also wrote that the governor’s denying of protest permits at the State Capitol were content neutral, and were put into place before an effective vaccine or treatment had been developed.

They wrote that there are alternatives to in-person government meetings and protests during an emergency like the pandemic.

“There are meaningful ways for like-minded citizens to coordinate, have conversations, and organize on issues they are passionate about,” the court wrote, “Virtual meetings, phone calls, and shared electronic documents are only a few alternatives available to meeting in person. These communication avenues have been held to be acceptable alternatives to public group protests when restrictions on public gatherings are in place to contain the spread of COVID-19.”

In its ruling the court found that the group seeking the recall, Washingtonians to Recall Inslee, had provided insufficient facts to support their argument.

In its ruling, the court wrote that while “reasonable minds may disagree with the governor’s discretionary decisions, such disagreement is insufficient to support a recall.”