Life Issues / Family Ethics Political Action Committee of Southwest Washington

Brent Boger

2006 Washington State Court of Appeals Candidate, Position 1

LifePac Recommended

Candidate's Website Judicial Forum Survey Responses 100% Judicial Forum Score 
Human Life PAC Endorsed Constitutional Law PAC Info Columbian Article, 9/2/06

Returned LifePac Survey

1. What role do you believe a judge plays in our society and government?

I think the question is better phrased as what role "should" a judge play in our society and government. My answer to that question is that a judge's role should be limited to settling disputes between parties based on the constitution and statutes adopted by the legislature or the people. A judges role in law making only comes into play when the law is ambiguous or so vague that it requires interpretation. When a case requires a judge to apply a vague or ambiguous law, then the judge should first rely on precedent. Only when the statute or constitution or precedent does not speak to the issue before a judge, should the judge have in role in "making law".

To directly answer the question you ask, many judges today do not follow these rules and quite freely overrule the laws passed by the people or legislature and ignore precedent to get the outcome they want. I am absolutely committed to not doing that.

2. Which current or recent state Supreme Court Justices best reflect your judicial philosophy? Please explain why.

My judicial philosophy is textualist. The best known advocate of that philosophy today is U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Scalia and I believe that the text, structure, and history of the document being interpreted is the most important and that the job of the judge is to apply the clear textual language of the Constitution or statute, or principles implicit in the text. If the text is ambiguous, then a judge should turn to the specific legal tradition flowing from the text. Judges are to be governed only by the text and tradition of the Constitution and statutes and not by their individual intellectual, moral, or personal perceptions. State Supreme Court Justice Jim Johnson seems to be the justice who follows the textualist philosophy the most closely. His recent dissenting opinion in the HTK v. Seattle Monorail case is clearly textualist.

3. If you are currently a judge, which of your recent written opinions best reflects your values and skills as a judge?

I am not currently a judge.

4. If you are not currently a judge, which brief or other written work youšve produced best reflects your judicial philosophy and legal skills?

Probably a brief I wrote for a U.S. Supreme Court case in Mille Lacs v. State of Minnesota. In that brief I argued that if the tribe had a treaty right wrongfully taken from them, the proper remedy is compensation and not restoration of hunting and gathering rights that would have impacted innocent property owners who had relied upon grants of land from the government for decades.

5. According to the Ethics Advisory Committee, Opinion 90-06, judicial candidates are prohibited from discussing their personal beliefs regarding abortion. Similar rules have been challenged and overturned in other states on First amendment grounds. Do you support the current rule prohibiting the discussion of abortion by judicial candidates?

Yes, I would. Though I have to point out that the court I am running for will not likely have much of an impact on the abortion issue because it is in the hands of the federal courts. If Roe and Casey were overturned by a federal court, Washington has laws on the books that would still permit abortion. Interpretation of those laws would probably be decided in the State Supreme Court.

6. Would you work to update Canon 7 of the Code of Judicial Conduct to allow more open debate by judicial candidates?

Yes. I think a modification of Canon 7 is constitutionally required under the White v. Minnesota Republican Party case.

7. Please state your qualifications for judicial office such as your professional, educational, family and community accomplishments. Continue on back if more space is needed.

I have been a lawyer for more than twenty years practicing in many areas of the law and representing many different kinds of clients. I have worked for both the government and property owners who are subject to government regulation. I have worked in areas as diverse as criminal prosecution, real estate, municipal bonds, family law, and civil litigation. My experience is in three states and at least a half dozen appellate courts and trial courts from San Diego to Seattle. I am very active in my community, including Rotary and church activities. I am married and have two grown sons--one who will be attending medical school next year and the other is a longshoreman. I grew up in Olympia.

Briefly, my career and education are as follows:

I graduated from the University of the Pacific Law School in Sacramento and attended there while I served on the staff of California Governor George Deukmejian. I graduated in the late spring of 1985, took and passed the California bar examination in the summer of 1985.

After my admission to the bar, I worked for a few more years for Governer Deukmejian before going into private practice for six years. Before leaving California, I worked for a few years for a large City in California as a Deputy City Attorney.

I always wanted to return to Washington, so when the Pacific Legal Foundation offered me a position heading up its Pacific Northwest Office, I was happy to take it. I spent a few years doing appeals for property owners in state and federal courts.

In 1999, I returned to the public sector to work as a Senior Assistant City Attorney for the City of Vancouver.

8. May LifePac post a digital image of your returned survey on its website?



Constitutional Law PAC on Boger:

The CLPAC is a bi-partisan committee formed to work for the election of judges who believe in judicial restraint.

Full report at:


Appeals court race
Saturday, September 2, 2006

By KATHIE DURBIN , Columbian staff writer

This year's primary contest for a seat on the State Court of Appeals serving Southwest Washington pits a former Clark County Republican chairman against a longtime Superior Court judge who was appointed to the appellate bench last year.

Full story at: