Washington State Supreme Court Justice G. Helen Whitener will be be taking a medical leave of absence from the Court. Justice Whitener will take her leave effective March 9 and will begin participating remotely in oral arguments effective immediately.
Whitener, who was appointed to the State’s High Court in 2020 then elected later in that year before being re-elected in 2022 to a six year term , will miss one day of arguments during her leave which will be March 14th. In that situation the Clerk’s office at the State Supreme Court selects from a list of current or eligible retired court of appeals judges or current superior court justices that are willing to fill in for that day.
Those judges are pro tems that hear oral arguments and help decide those cases. The State Supreme Court has already announced they will use a pro tem Judge on March 14th to fill in for Justice Whitener’s absence.
Justice Whitener has suffered from a degenerative back condition since she was a teenager. Before her appointment to the Washington State Supreme Court, Whitener served as a judge on the Pierce County Superior Court and also served as a judge on the Washington State Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals.
Whitener began her judicial career as a pro tem judge on Tacoma’s Municipal Court and the Pierce County District Court. Before the judiciary, she litigated civil and criminal cases and a prosecutor and as a defense attorney. Whitener later became a managing partner at the law firm of Whitener Rainey Writt PS.