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New Washington judge called son of Slade Gorton

Jim Johnson, a former legal aide to Slade Gorton, was elected to the Washington Supreme Court this month, much to the dismay of tribes in the state.

Tribal leaders fought Johnson's election in 2002. He lost by a very slim margin after $60,000 ad blitz paid by the First American Education Project.

But this year, tribal leaders were focused on defeating I-892, an anti-Indian gaming initiative. They didn't spend much time on other races, which they say helped Johnson get elected.

Tribes trace their opposition to the 19790s, when Johnson was an assistant to then-state attorney general Slade Gorton. Gorton and other state officials were fighting tribal fishing rights and tribal leaders don't think Johnson can approach tribal issues objectively.

Johnson disputes the characterization and says he has worked for tribes on environmental issues.

Get the Story:
Tribes lament election of Johnson to high court (The Seattle Post-Intelligencer 11/20)

Relevant Links:
First Americans Education Project -
Jim Johnson -

Related Stories:
Wash. tribes target 'extreme' candidate (10/29)
Wash. tribes oppose judicial candidate (10/25)