Washington State Supreme Court Calendar Supreme Court Oral Arguments
Oral Argument Hearings
Both video and audio recordings of Supreme Court oral arguments are available. Video recordings are made avaialble via TVW and date back as far as 1997. Audio recordings are available on AV Capture and date back to September 2016.
Oral Argument Guidelines
The guidelines below are intended to help attorneys prepare for an oral argument hearing.
The Washington State Supreme Court
The state’s “court of last resort” is asked to review more than a thousand cases each year. Most come from the state Court of Appeals, though cases can be appealed directly from Superior Court.
In the Supreme Court, no witnesses are called or other evidence taken. Rather, the Court hears only legal issues, and decides the case based on the factual record developed in the trial court.
The Court has discretion in deciding which cases to review. In a case already decided by the Court of Appeals, the Court will generally grant review only if it involves a question which has given rise to conflicting appellate court decisions, an important constitutional question, or a question of substantial public importance. Direct review of Superior Court decisions is granted in limited circumstances.
During each four month session the Court hears oral argument in approximately 45 cases. Responsibility for authoring opinions is distributed equally among the justices. At least five of the nine Justices have to agree to decide a case. Frequently, justices write opinions which concur (agree) with or dissent (disagree) from the majority opinion. The Court’s opinions are published by the LexisNexis publishing company. The opinions are available online free of charge at www.courts.wa.gov/opinions and www.lexisnexis.com/clients/wareports/; they are also printed in the Washington Reports series of books, which are available at the state law library and county law libraries.
Members of the Court
Seating Locations Raquel Montoya-Lewis Sheryl Gordon McCloud Susan Owens Charles W. Johnson Steven C. González Barbara A. Madsen Debra L. Stephens Mary I. Yu G. Helen Whitener
With the exception of the Chief Justice, who takes the middle position, justices are seated at the bench by order of seniority. The justice who has served the longest sits to the immediate right of the Chief Justice, the next most senior to the Chief Justice’s immediate left, and so on. Justices of the Supreme Court are elected to staggered six year terms. The position of Chief Justice is selected by the Court’s own membership to serve a four-year term.