Who rules at home when a husband and wife are both judges?
Federal Court Justice Michael Spearman joked, “I overrule,” since he’s a higher judge than his wife, King County Superior Court Mariane Spearman.
“There are no judges at home,” Mariane responded. Spearman quickly agreed. Now you know who has the final say.
If you are not Native American, can you still be a tribal judge?
Yes. Tulalip Tribal Court Judge Theresa Marie Pouley’s husband is also a tribal court judge. And he’s of Italian descent.
Law is a good field for Native American women. Of the 100 lawyers in Native American communities, 50 percent are females. And 60 percent of those female lawyers are judges.
Does law open doors for Asian Americans?
For Asian American youth, law is the new hot field, not medicine. It used to be the dream of Asian parents for their children to become doctors. Not any more.
Visit the Seattle University and University of Washington law schools and you will find a sea of Asian American students. Women now exceed 50 percent of the student body in several law schools across the country.
It is much more expensive to go to medical school, and it takes longer to be trained as a doctor. But law school takes only three years, and you can practice after you pass the bar exam.
I could be biased, but law seems to break the glass ceiling faster than medicine. You don’t find Asian American deans at Ivy League medical schools, but we had law deans for quite a few law schools. Wallace Loh was the first Asian American law dean for the University of Washington in 1992. Harold Koh was formerly dean of Yale Law School.
Gary Locke, a Boston law graduate, was the first Chinese American governor in the whole country. Dolores Sibonga, a UW law alum, was the first Filipino American elected official in the country.
What went on behind the scenes at the luncheon?
A “nice” problem we faced when we organized the Women of Power in Law lunch was that there were too many qualified Asian American female judges and lawyers, but fewer qualified female lawyers and judges in other ethnic communities.
The large pool of potential honorees in the Asian community is a blessing. It began with Mayor Norm Rice appointing Judge Kimi Kondo in 1992 as the Seattle Municipal Court Judge. Later, several more were appointed and elected, including Judges Eileen Kato, Linda Lau, Linda Lee, Lorraine Lee, Marcine Anderson, and Vicki Toyohara.
How do we decide who is qualified to be an honoree?
We looked at leadership, community involvement, and diversity in the group of honorees. I regret that we were not able to get a Filipino honoree. Got suggestions for me for next time? ♦