Spokane judge may become next Wash. Supreme Court justice

Spokane judge may become next Wash. Supreme Court justice

SPOKANE, Wash. - Spokane Judge Michael Price is on Governor Jay Inslee's short list to become the next Washington Supreme Court justice.

If tapped by Inslee, he will become the second justice on the bench from Eastern Washington.

Price, who has been a judge in Spokane Superior Court for the last decade, calls the opportunity to serve with the state's high court the greatest job in the world.

"I have a reputation for being able to get people together and to talk and work together and that's important when you have nine justices who all have strong opinions about the law," Price said.

Presiding Superior Court Judge Sam Cozza called Price adaptable and said he can handle any case. He's also flexible and very well thought of by attorneys and fellow judges.

"He's very open minded, listens to everyone's arguments and renders very thoughtful and careful decisions," Cozza said.

Price has deep roots in Eastern Washington, having been raised here, and getting his undergraduate and law degree from Gonzaga University. That's one reason his peers think he should be tapped by Inslee for the high court.

"I think it's important for the balance of the court to have somebody from eastern Washington," Cozza said.

Spokane County Deputy Prosecutor Tony Hazel agrees; he's a strong supporter of Price's appointment to the bench.

"You need someone that has high intelligence, you need a judge that is also somewhat conscious of the effects of his or her decisions," Hazel said.

Inslee is expected to appoint someone to the bench no later than the first week of May.