As it turns out, Walker’s motion was
9 but the Washington State Bar
Association ultimately did “let it go by
the boards.” Former Justice Root was
personally well-liked and was a longtime pillar of the establishment,
10 so the
Grievance Committee did not institute
disbarment proceedings against him
“and the entire matter appeared to have
been resolved and forgotten.”
not entirely resolved and forgotten. Milo
Seasoned trial lawyers who know how to win—we’re SGB.
Root returned to practicing law in Seattle,
but when he ran for King County Superior Court in 1916, the entire affair was
resurrected, he was censured by the Seattle Bar Association, and he met defeat
at the ballot box.
12 Milo A. Root died the
following year, a broken man.
13 Merritt J.
Gordon, the other former justice involved
in the 1908 scandal, had opened a law
practice in Tacoma but died after being
struck by a runaway car in 1925.14 N WL
where he teaches both state
constitutional law and professional responsibility. Contact him
1. Carissa J. Vogel, “Rediscovering Dr. Arthur
S. Beardsley: A Brief Introduction to His
Life and Work,” 27 Legal Reference Services
Quarterly 347 (2009). See also, Laura M.
Goldsmith, “History of the University of
Washington Law Librarianship Program,”
82 Law Library Journal 239 (1990).
2. Vogel, id., at 353.
3. State of Washington, 2013–2014 Legislative Manual, 385. Also available at: www.
4. Washington State Bar Association, “Report
of the Special Committee to Investigate
Charges against Milo S. Root” (Jan. 7, 1909)
(unpublished report, on file with the Gallagher Law Library, University of Washington). The Bar Committee report includes as
attachments much of the correspondence
between Root and Gordon, and other documentation, that provided the basis for the
5. Justice Root’s seat on the Washington Supreme Court was filled for the remainder
of 1908 by Stephen J. Chadwick, who had
just won election to a different position on
the Court, and then by Mack F. Gose, commencing Feb. 12, 1909. Hugh Spitzer, “
Pivoting to Progressivism: Justice Stephen J.
Chadwick, the Washington Supreme Court,
and Change in Early 20th-Century Judicial
Reasoning and Rhetoric,” 104 Pacific NW
Q. 107, 109 (2013); Washington Supreme
Court Justices by Year, 175 Wn.2d xxxvii
6. Members of the committee were listed in
Proceedings, Washington State Bar Association Twenty-first Annual Convention,
July 29, 30, and 31, 1909, at 3.
7. Id. at 124.
8. Id. at 125.
9. Id. at 130.
10. Charles H. Sheldon, The Washington High
Bench: A Biographical History of the State
Supreme Court, 1889–1991 (1992), at 287.
11. Id. at 189.
12. Sheldon, supra n. 9, at 289–90.
13. Id. at 290.
14. Id. at 170.