Gonzaga Law Alum Michael E. Johnston, (J.D., ’98) Appointed Washington Supreme Court Commissioner
Michael E. Johnston has been appointed the new Washington Supreme Court Commissioner by the justices of the Washington Supreme Court. As commissioner, Johnston will review and analyze hundreds of petitions and motions that come before the court each year and serve as a “gatekeeper” with his primary role to determine which cases meet the criteria to be reviewed by the full court. Prior to his appointment, Johnston served as the lead staff attorney in the Commissioner’s office for 10 years and served as a judge pro tem for the Thurston County District Court since 2012.
Johnston graduated from Gonzaga Law magna cum laude in 1998 and served as the Editor-in-Chief of the Gonzaga Law Review. After graduating, he clerked for the Honorable Stephen M. Brown and the Honorable Karen Seinfeld of the Washington Court of Appeals and worked for the Washington Attorney General’s Office. During his clerkship with Judge Brown, Johnston published an article entitled A Better SLAPP Trap: Washington State’s Enhanced Statutory Protection for Targets of ‘Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation,’ 38 GONZ. LAW. REV. 263 (2002-2003)—a prescient line of scholarly inquiry for Washington’s new Court Commissioner. Deeply humbled by the appointment, Johnston states that, “I am looking forward to taking leadership of such a well-functioning office of outstanding professionals dedicated to the office’s mission of assisting the Court in promoting the effective administration of justice.”