Wa St Supreme Court Mission During Covid-19 Crisis
Jul 27, 2020 5:30 PM
Debra Stephens, Chief Justice, WA Supreme Court
Wa St Supreme Court Mission During Covid-19 Crisis

The Honorable Debra L. Stephens has been a member of the Washington State Supreme Court since January 2008.  In January 2020, she was sworn in as the court’s 57th chief justice.  Chief Justice Stephens previously served as a judge for Division Three of the Court of Appeals, and is the first judge from that court to serve on the Washington State Supreme Court, as well as the first woman from Eastern Washington to do so. A native of Spokane, Washington, she practiced law and taught as an adjunct professor at Gonzaga University School of Law prior to taking the bench. She appeared as counsel over 125 times in the Washington State Supreme Court, in addition to appearances in the Idaho Supreme Court, in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and as counsel of record in the United States Supreme Court.

As the chief justice, Stephens serves on several committees and boards committed to improving the administration of justice in Washington State.  She frequently speaks at youth and community events across the state, is a member of the Washington Council on Public Legal Education, and chairs the Board for Judicial Administration.  Nationally, she is a member of the Executive Committee of the National Courts and Sciences Institute (NCSI), and a convener for Dividing the Waters, an organization supporting judicial education on water law issues.  Since joining the bench, Chief Justice Stephens has been a member of the National Association of Women Judges and co-chairs its Judicial Independence Committee.  Internationally, she has participated in training for foreign judges on issues of judicial independence and the rule of law.  Chief Justice Stephens has also received the “Myra Bradwell Award” from the Gonzaga Women’s Law Caucus, the “Leadership & Justice Award” from MAMAS (Mother Attorneys Mentoring Association of Seattle), the “Distinguished Judicial Service Award” from Gonzaga University School of Law, and the “President’s Award” from Washington Women Lawyers.

Chief Justice Stephens and her husband have been married for over 30 years and have two grown children.  She enjoys skiing, golf, tennis, and spending time with her extended family at the Snake River.