Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan asks state Supreme Court to stop recall effort

The push to recall Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan is arguing that the move to recall her is based on a policy disagreement, not a violation of any law or standard, and her lawyers say the petitioners leading the recall haven’t identified what steps Durkan should have taken in the wake of June’s widespread protests.

The Seattle Times reports the mayor made those arguments in appealing her case to the state Supreme Court.

Durkan’s argument, filed Monday, reprises some of the arguments she made in King County Superior Court, where a judge ruled that the recall effort could move forward, but also adds some new ones.

“Following the most widespread civil unrest Seattle has seen in decades, Petitioners submitted, and the trial court approved, a charge that Mayor Durkan ‘failed to institute new policies and safety measures for the Seattle Police Department’ with regard to the use of chemical crowd control measures,” Durkan’s attorneys, Rebecca Roe and William Shaw, write in the appeal. “Remarkably, neither Petitioners nor the trial court identified the particular ‘policies and safety measures’ Mayor Durkan had a duty to implement, but failed to enact.”

Allowing the recall to proceed, would “chill the discretionary authority of public officials across the political spectrum,” they wrote.

The recall effort, led by six Seattle residents, blames Durkan for Seattle Police’s broad use of tear gas in early June, following widespread protests against police brutality and systemic racism.

The state Supreme Court has agreed to hear Durkan’s appeal, but there will be no oral arguments. All filings and arguments are due by Sept. 22, and the court is tentatively scheduled to discuss the case in private Oct. 8.

If the Supreme Court rejects Durkan’s appeal, allowing the recall to go forward, petitioners would have 180 days to collect more than 50,000 signatures from Seattle voters — one-quarter of the votes filed in the last mayoral election — before a special recall election could be held.