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State Supreme Court to decide on Sawant appeal in recall — UPDATE

The State Supreme Court is expected to hand down its decision Thursday in Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant’s appeal of the recall case against her.

UPDATE 1/8/2021 9:00 AM: Any decision in the case has not been publicly announced as of Friday morning.

UPDATE x2: The court now says there is not a timeline for issuing its opinion in the case:

The Sawant Solidarity campaign formed to help the District 3 council representative if the recall moves forward is girding for the court to rule against Sawant’s appeal.

Sawant’s legal team launched the appeal in October following a King County Superior Court judge’s decision that allowed the recall effort against the longest serving member of the council to move forward.

Sawant’s lawyers from Barnard Iglitzin & Lavitt LLP — “the Pacific Northwest’s largest union-side labor and employment law firm” — say the superior court erred in determining that the charges brought against Sawant were “legally and factually sufficient to support a recall.”

The Supreme Court is scheduled to take up and decide on the appeal in a session in which legal briefs from Sawant’s team and lawyers for the Recall Sawant campaign will be considered but there will be no oral arguments. The three documents filed in the case — Sawant’s brief, the recall campaign’s response, and a final reply from Sawant’s legal team — are below:

In September, the King County Superior Court certified a recall petition against the socialist councilmember on four allegations involving her participation in a brief June occupation protest inside City Hall, a rally and march to Mayor Durkan’s home at the end of that same month, the delegation of hiring decisions to Sawant’s political group Socialist Alternative, and the use of city resources to promote the Tax Amazon ballot initiative.

The two campaigns are already battling to raise funds. Latest filings show Sawant’s team has raised just under $150,000 while Recall Sawant reports more than $223,000 in contributions. Many of the recall’s backers are anonymous and considered “unitemized contributors” under city campaign finance laws because they gave less than $25.

If the court denies Sawant’s appeal, the recall proponents would have until early 2021 to gather a little over 10,000 signatures — or 25% of the nearly 43,000 votes cast in her November 2019 race — to send the issue to the voters. A basic yes/no recall vote would then head to the ballot.


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TurnCalAndersonIntoADogPark
TurnCalAndersonIntoADogPark
1 month ago

The reality is that at the end of the day the justices’ ruling will come down to their sense of propriety and what they think of the accused.

Teargassing constituents? That was just a “matter of policy” for good ole’ Durkan, a longtime establishment figure.

But letting those same constituents into city hall? Marching along with them? Watch as we find out that those offenses are, for a socialist, deemed as grave and impeachable.

glenn
glenn
1 month ago

Thanks for showing such low regard for one of the most liberal supreme courts in the entire country. in reality, they will look at the facts and the law and make the decision they think best reflects the application of one to the other. what they think of the accused will have nothing to do with it.

dre
dre
1 month ago

Not only were her actions dangerous, she also neglected the people she was supposed to represent due to her ideological failings. Furthermore, she legitimizes radicals, mobilizes citizens through false rhetoric, and has very little interest in negotiating solutions. She demands, cries, shouts, and nearly curses the systems that allowed her to even be where she is in the first place.

Since many serious and seemingly legitimate allegations have happened relating to her position, it would be wise to bring it to a vote so that we can prevent further damage and misappropriation of resources. Actions have consequences.

Let the people decide.

Thank you.

sasha
sasha
1 month ago
Reply to  dre

She was elected by her constituents based on her ideology. Your other weak arguments: she speaks loudly and misused the office printer. Big deal. The people already decided-deal with it next election.

dre
dre
1 month ago
Reply to  sasha

You’re right about one thing, sasha, is that we can deal with it next election. Meaning, she gets put back on the ballot in 2021 and her constituents can either vote to keep her in or vote her out.

Hillacious
Hillacious
1 month ago
Reply to  dre

That’s called elections. Not recalls.

csy
csy
1 month ago
Reply to  Hillacious

Recall a councilmember, impeach a president – what’s the difference?

joanna
1 month ago

I disagreed with both of the recall efforts. Neither Durkan nor Sawant acted for personal gain or corrupt ends. Those who attempt to overturn elections when they don’t like the outcomes through recalls are just sore losers. We all often upset with even our best elected officials and these have been trying times. With no electeds in their regular offices and public meetings closed, it was inevitable that protesters would go to those places of work, that is the homes. As a protester, it certainly is not very satisfying to march to the empty city hall. All electeds are suppose to register their residential addresses with the PDC to ensure that they live in a jurisdiction that qualifies them to run for an office. And in the case of Durkan, she also talked about her residents in a way that would not have made it difficult for any motivated person to discover the address. Perhaps it is just safer to make it public; then her security team can just assume that it is known. Mayors have personal security. And if she wanted all to remain secret, perhaps she should not have run for public office. All the electeds were all working from home. Sawant’s allowing her constituents into City Hall for meeting where no destruction took place was perfectly legal. They came in, had a meeting and left. In both cases, if you want new leadership wait for the next election.

MarciaX
MarciaX
1 month ago
Reply to  joanna

Agreed. Holding an unauthorized meeting in an otherwise empty building and allegedly misusing a few dollars’ worth of office supplies may be good reasons not to re-elect someone but neither they nor any of the other accusations against Sawant are recall-worthy offenses. Unless we agree to reserve recalls for cases of clear corruption involving serious money or behavior that poses an indisputable threat to public health and safety (not just annoyance or inconvenience), in an increasingly polarized political environment recalls will ultimately become as routine and frequent as elections themselves. I can’t imagine anyone thinking that’s a good thing. Won’t sign, won’t support. And yes, I would say the same about Durkan.

dre
dre
1 month ago
Reply to  MarciaX

You really don’t think it’s a big deal for an elected official to unlawfully use secured access into a city building in order to gather a large amount of people indoors during a pandemic for her own political gain? I think you’re also neglecting the serious corruption within her political group and using city money to pay her husband and friends for initiative work ended months ago.

Eddie
Eddie
1 month ago
Reply to  dre

I definitely agree that bringing crowds indoors during the initial months of the pandemic when much was not known about the virus was ridiculous. I don’t think it rises to “recall level,” but it demonstrates poor judgement. I’m not really feeling these undemocratic gestures of late; let’s just vote her out when her term is up.

RWK
RWK
1 month ago

I recently received a pro-Sawant flyer in the mail, as I’m sure many of you did. There were several misleading statements (aka lies) in the flyer, among which is a claim that the recall campaign is trying to use the courts to overturn the results of an election. That is simply not true….the Supreme Court will only decide whether the allegations are valid enough to allow a recall election. If enough signatures are gathered (a difficult task in the pandemic), then the people will decide if Sawant is recalled or not.