Our Voice: Herald recommends George Fearing for state Court of Appeals

State Court of Appeals Judge George Fearing of Richland has proved his competency on the bench during his short tenure, and deserves to keep his seat.

He came to the court with extensive experience handling appeals as an attorney in private practice. His thorough knowledge of the appeals process is worth retaining.

Fearing was appointed to the court by Gov. Jay Inslee and was sworn in on July 1. Although he can count his judicial experience in weeks, he's already made an impression. The list of supporters includes four sitting state Supreme Court justices and three retired justices.

Sixteen members of the state Court of Appeals are endorsing Fearing. So are 15 Superior and District court judges throughout the state and police officials from around the Tri-Cities.

"I know (Fearing) to be a man of high character and absolute integrity, who has distinguished himself by his intelligence and thoughtfulness, his knowledge and respect for the law, his wisdom and restraint, his kindness and compassion, and his dedication to service," retired Superior Court Judge Dennis Yule wrote.

The attributes Yule ascribes to Fearing are exactly the qualities we'd hope to see in the appellate court.

We don't have anything against his challenger, Walla Walla attorney Gary Metro.

Here's a description of his judicial philosophy that appears on his website: "Gary believes the Court of Appeals must apply and use judicial restraint. If elected, he will interpret the laws enacted by the Legislature in a manner which is consistent with the laws' plain meaning. He will not make new law. Gary will work to preserve and protect the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the state of Washington. He will work to preserve the delicate balance inherent in our federalist system of government."

It's a fine philosophy, but not a reason to replace a sitting judge with a proven track record and the support of some of the best legal minds in the state.

The Herald editorial board recommends George Fearing for state Court of Appeals.