I really can’t encapsulate the gist of this any better than Hans Bader did in his piece breaking the news of this ghastly decision a couple of days ago. To wit:

The progressive Washington State Supreme Court has issued a ruling that effectively gives black plaintiffs a racial advantage in lawsuits against whites.

Vurt da furk,” you ask? Welp, it all started back when there was a rear-end automobile crash, and the subsequent 2017 civil injury trial that pitted a white defendant (Alicia Thompson) against a black victim (Janelle Henderson).

…The ruling stems from an auto collision in which Janelle Henderson, who is Black, claimed the tics and pain connected to her existing Tourette’s Syndrome were worsened after her car was hit by one driven by Alicia Thompson, who is white.

Henderson and her Seattle attorney, Vonda Sargent, sought $3.5 million in damages when the case first went to trial in 2017. Thompson had acknowledged her own fault in the accident but would not compensate Henderson for a multi-million dollar amount.

At the civil trial, after hearing Henderson described as “combative” and “confrontational,” and watching three of Henderson’s friends and witnesses all use the same words to describe her as the “life of the party,” the jury denied Henderson’s original claim and awarded her $9,200.

Understandably, the plaintiff’s lawyer was put out by the minuscule judgment, and asked for a new trial, but used a radically different reason for the request. In the highlighted section above are the defense assertions – the plaintiff had been “combative/confrontational” and all three witnesses using the exact same phrase in testimony was evidence of coaching – the plaintiff’s lawyer was appealing as racist.

…Arguing that these words [confrontational/combative] used by the defense were a trope and the insinuation that the witnesses colluded in their testimony, the plaintiffs claimed racial bias.

As Mr. Bader says, who hasn’t used the words ‘confrontational’ or ‘combative’? You see it on dang near other every episode of “Cops,” and 90% of the time, it’s a skinny, shirtless white guy, with straggly hair and his drawers falling down. But…it’s racist now?

…I have called opposing litigants and counsel confrontational and combative in the past, because in those cases, they were. Race had nothing to do with it — most of those combative people were white!

…In response to the request for a new trial, the trial judge did what trial courts would do in most of the country in this situation: it refused to do so. The Washington State Supreme Court reversed that ruling, saying that the burden was on the defendant — a white woman — to prove the judgment was not affected by racism. If the white woman can’t prove that, the plaintiff can have a new trial, and sue her all over again.

As you might well imagine, the liberal Seattle press is simply over the moon with the new equity and affirmative action court. Their verbiage is gobsmacking and has little to do with constitutional “justice” as WE understand it. Or…understood it. They’re also delighted there’s going to be a “racial bias” Truth Squad appointed to keep tabs on argle-bargle bias rearing its ugly head in courtrooms. Unhappy litigants will have a complaint department to double-check if their inequitable or unfavorable outcomes were the result of bias.

The Washington Supreme Court in a powerful, unanimous opinion Thursday ruled that a new trial is the only adequate remedy in civil cases where racial bias was a factor in court, finding that “race-based” misconduct can “never be a harmless error.”

The opinion is the latest issued by the justices aimed at addressing and removing racism from the state court system.

The court, ruling in a personal injury case resulting from a car crash, concluded that the trial court should have held a hearing to explore the allegations of racial bias raised by the defense, and ordered it back to King County Superior Court for such a hearing and almost certainly a new trial.

…The opinion states an evidentiary hearing about racial bias must be held if the court is presented with evidence that an “objective observer” — defined by the justices as “someone who is aware that implicit, institutional, and unconscious biases, in addition to purposeful discrimination, have influenced jury verdicts in Washington State” — could conclude racial bias was a factor in a verdict.

What are the odds most of them will be? I know – I’m a cynic and should be celebrating the new truths. Pfft.

There’s another, even more horrid aspect to this entire race-based farce, and that’s its effect on JUSTICE itself. When one side is already presumed to be discriminated against going in, how does the other side defend itself as it has every right to?

…By allowing jury verdicts to be overturned based on speculative claims of racism, this ruling will result in more extortionate settlements. This ruling will bully some white litigants into not criticizing inappropriate behavior by black litigants and lawyers, and will bully litigants into not vigorously challenging questionable claims made by black litigants and lawyers. Thus, it undermines due process.

As Ted Frank observes, the ruling effectively gives black lawyers and witnesses an advantage. He says that if he were a Washington plaintiff’s “lawyer in state court, I’d be sure that my critical expert witness was Black. Free roll! Either I win, or [I argue that the opposing side’s] “rebuttal of the expert was a microaggression of some sort and I get a new trial — or threaten one, to induce better settlement up front.”

The Washington Supreme Court’s ruling was issued on October 20 in a case known as Henderson v. Thompson. It reinforces an earlier ruling overturning a conviction because of a criminal’s race, in State v. Sum. In that June 2022 ruling, state supreme court overturned a man’s conviction for lying to police, because he is non-white. If he were white, his conviction for making a false statement would have been upheld, because there was no dispute that he lied, and the questions he was asked by a police officer were typical attempts to gather information.

Attorney Mark Lamb told Seattle KIRO radio host Dori Monson

…“The presumption is going to be that you are biased, you are racist,” Lamb explained to Dori’s listeners. “The burden is on the party that effectively won at trial.”

“It is trying to imbue race consciousness into our system in a way that is not remedial but is insidious and will have very disastrous consequences to bring our country together. It’s going to heighten racial consciousness and identity and that is not going to be good for our state.”

Sure, it’s unconstitutional, but remedies for such individual cases are few and far between, as Mr. Bader explains.

“…The U.S. Supreme Court turns down 99% of all cert. petitions without comment. It does not hear appeals of even most erroneous lower court decisions, and it tends to hear appeals only when there is a split among the lower courts, and not even in most such cases. It is generally “not a court of error correction,” and it can take decades before the U.S. Supreme Court gets around to abrogating a lower court’s unconstitutional doctrine.”

And you thought George Floyd getting 3 state funerals while your gramma’s body sat in cold storage was unfair. Imagine living in Woke Washington State hell.

There’d better be a Red Tsunami on the way.

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