State Supreme Court to Interact with Campus, Hear Cases at WWU Oct. 9-10

  • Formal portrait photo of the state supreme court

The nine justices of the Washington State Supreme Court will be on campus at Western Washington University on Oct. 9 and 10 to meet with the campus community, answer questions about their role in the state’s judicial system, and hear oral arguments on three cases.

These events are free and open to the public, and all will be held in the Wilson Library Reading Room.

The Bellingham events are part of the Supreme Court’s Traveling Court program designed to provide outreach and communication opportunities between the court and state communities far afield from its usual working location at the capitol in Olympia.

The court will host a pair of panel discussions as follows:

“Judicial Role in Democracy,” from 3-3:50 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 9

“Free Speech” from 4:10 to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 9

The three cases the court will hear while on campus are:

State vs. Davis, 9-9:40 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 10 in the Wilson Library Reading Room

Case summary: Whether in this criminal prosecution in which the defendant represented himself, the defendant voluntarily absented himself from trial and waived his right to be present through his disruptive behavior, and if so, whether the court properly allowed witnesses to testify in the defendant’s absence.

Woods vs. Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission, 10-10:40 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 10 in the Wilson Library Reading Room

Case summary: Whether in this employment discrimination suit against a religious organization, the exclusion of religious and sectarian organizations from the Washington Law Against Discrimination shields the defendant from liability for refusing to hire an applicant for a staff attorney position in the defendant’s legal clinic based on the applicant’s sexual orientation.

Wrigley vs. State of Washington, et al., 1:30 to 2:10 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 10 in the Wilson Library Reading Room

Case summary: Whether in this negligence action against the Department of Children, Youth, and Families arising out of the death of a child at the hands of his birth father after the child was removed from his birth mother and placed with the father, allegations the mother relayed to the department about the father’s past acts of violence against her and warning that the child would die if placed with the father amounted to “a report concerning the possible occurrence of [child] abuse or neglect” within the meaning of RCW 26.44.050, triggering the department’s duty to investigate.

The court will hold Q&A sessions on Thursday, Oct. 10 after the oral arguments have concluded, from 10:40-11 a.m. and from 2:10-2:30 p.m.

The campus community is invited to attend these events and engage in dialog with the justices at the panel discussions and Q&A events; note that the court will be in session during the oral arguments and there will be no questions taken during the actual court session.

For more information on the court visit or the Travelling Court program, contact the WWU Office of Communications at (360) 650-3350 or email news@wwu.edu

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Monday, September 23, 2019 - 10:12am

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