NEWS BRIEFS: Idaho's Supreme Court is made up of a majority of women for the first time

Plus, Washington's gubernatorial race sees a shakeup, while Idaho's ban on "abortion trafficking" is put on hold

click to enlarge NEWS BRIEFS: Idaho's Supreme Court is made up of a majority of women for the first time
The Idaho Supreme Court justices in early 2022. Kootenai County District Judge Cynthia Meyer replaces Justice John R. Stegner (second from left).

Last Monday, Nov. 6, Idaho Gov. Brad Little appointed Kootenai County District Judge Cynthia Meyer to the state's highest judicial office. Meyer will be the 60th justice and fifth woman ever to serve on the five-person Idaho Supreme Court — and along with the two other women justices already serving, she will give the court its first female majority. She will fill the vacant spot of outgoing Justice John R. Stegner, who retired on Oct. 31. She'll complete the rest of his term, which ends in January 2027. Meyer spent time as an adjunct instructor at North Idaho College from 2005 to 2009, and she was appointed to the First Judicial District in 2015. This is Little's second appointment to the court since he first took office in 2018. Idaho Supreme Court justices are usually elected to six-year terms in nonpartisan, statewide elections. However, four of the five justices on the court were first appointed by Little or former Gov. Butch Otter. Justice Robyn Brody is the only justice to have been first elected to the position, rather than appointed. (COLTON RASANEN)


Last Thursday, U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer announced that he will not seek reelection. One day later, in a major state politics shakeup, Washington Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz announced that she will put her gubernatorial ambitions aside and run to replace Kilmer in Congress. Kilmer, a Democrat, was first elected in 2012 and represents Washington's 6th Congressional District, which covers the Olympic Peninsula and parts of Tacoma. In a statement, Kilmer described Franz as a "bold, strategic leader" and endorsed her bid for Congress. Franz, who has served as lands commissioner since 2017, first announced her intent to run for governor earlier this year, shortly after Gov. Jay Inslee declared that he would not seek another term. She entered a crowded field alongside Democratic state Sen. Mark Mullet and Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who is endorsed by Inslee. Kilmer also endorsed Ferguson for governor. "The challenges we face extend beyond the borders of Washington, and so must our solutions," Franz said in a video announcing her pivot to a congressional run. (NATE SANFORD)


In Idaho, where virtually all abortion is banned, adults who help minors travel elsewhere to receive an abortion or who help them get abortion-inducing medication may be prosecuted. But last week, a federal judge put a hold on Idaho's "abortion trafficking" ban, which makes it a felony to help a minor receive an abortion without their parents' permission. In a ruling last week, U.S. District Magistrate Debora K. Grasham allowed most portions of a lawsuit seeking to overturn the travel ban to move forward. Filed by Legal Voice on behalf of abortion access groups, the lawsuit argues that the confusingly worded ban unconstitutionally infringes on the freedom of speech and the right to travel between states. The preliminary injunction means the ban cannot be enforced while the case makes its way through the court system. (SAMANTHA WOHLFEIL)

Northwest Winterfest @ Spokane County Fair & Expo Center

Thursdays, Fridays, 5-8 p.m., Saturdays, 4-8 p.m. and Sundays, 3-6 p.m. Continues through Dec. 31
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