SCJA President's Message
To My Dear Fellow Judicial Officers of the Superior Court of Washington:
Thank you for the opportunity to serve you as your president for 2023-2024. It is a deep honor and a privilege to lead this unique and great organization. I am very excited and looking forward to working with all our judges and commissioners, the SCJA’s dedicated staff members, the board of trustees, the SCJA committees, and everyone who wants to improve the lives of our judicial officers and the delivery of justice in the State of Washington.
Becoming a judge was always a dream for me. As an immigrant who did not speak any English when I first arrived in the U.S.A., courts and judges symbolized the rule of law, serving a critical role in our democracy by balancing the interests of the individual and the public. When I received my appointment from the governor in 2014, I was thrilled and excited to be a part of this incredible process and to serve the people of Washington.
However, I also realized that being a judge is one of the hardest jobs in the world. Making decisions every day that impact individuals’ and families’ lives is difficult and exhausting, both physically and mentally. Furthermore, in the aftermath of Covid-19, the demands on our daily jobs have become even greater than ever before, including many new technologies and procedures that we must learn and adapt to. Unlike many other states, most of our superior court judicial officers have little or no legal support or assistance, and we have to conduct trials and hearings all day, while also issuing decisions and preparing for upcoming matters. Court administrative responsibilities and civic engagements are equally demanding, forcing many of us to feel that there just isn’t sufficient “bandwidth” to do our work properly. Finally, there has been a seismic demographic change with numerous judicial retirements and departures, resulting in many new judges, especially those with younger children. While the deep talent and the enthusiasm our newer colleagues have brought are starting to transform our courts already, judicial education and work-life balance have become increasingly more and more important.
Balancing these needs and challenges will require careful planning and cooperation from all judicial officers across Washington, as well as from our partners at the Administrative Office of the Courts, the state legislature and county councils. I also recognize the fundamental role that we as judicial officers play in our community’s quest for racial and social justice, and we will strive to earn the public’s trust and confidence through hard work, perseverance, and serving and supporting each other.
I sincerely look forward to working with everyone and to serve you as your president. Thank you.
Samuel S. Chung
President, Superior Court Judges’ Association of Washington