Former Washington state Supreme Court Justice Mary Fairhurst dies at 64

<p><p>Associated Press</p></p><p><p>OLYMPIA – Former Washington Supreme Court Chief Justice Mary Fairhurst, who had been fighting cancer, has died. She was 64.</p></p><p><p>In a statement Washington Courts said Fairhurst died Tuesday surrounded by her family in Olympia. In January of 2020 she retired due to health reasons.</p></p><p><p>“Chief Justice Fairhurst was an inspiration to everyone. She was always positive yet with both feet on the ground,” Chief Justice Steven González said in a statement. “We are grateful for her leadership and for the time she shared so generously with all of us and send our condolences to her entire family.”</p></p><p><p>Fairhurst was first diagnosed with colon cancer in late 2008 and it later spread to a lung. After <a href=”” target=”_blank”>a final treatment in 2011</a> and several years of no evidence of disease, Fairhurst said that the cancer returned in 2018 – appearing in her lungs, liver, thyroid and spleen. She had continued to work while undergoing chemotherapy before opting to step down.</p></p><p><p>She was first elected to the court in 2002, and was elected chief justice by her colleagues in 2016.</p></p><p><p>In 2018, when the high court unanimously struck down the state’s death penalty as arbitrary and racially biased, Fairhurst wrote the lead opinion.</p></p><p><p>Fairhurst was a magna cum laude graduate of Gonzaga Law School and the youngest president of the Washington State Bar Association.</p></p><p><p>“I am deeply saddened about the loss of Justice Mary Fairhurst,” Gov. Jay Inslee said in a statement Wednesday. “She was a talented legal mind, a wonderful, thoughtful person and a dedicated public servant. Mary was deeply committed to her community and was always trying to find ways to support those most in need.”</p></p><p><p>When Fairhurst decided to step down she emailed colleagues and said the decision to retire was difficult.</p></p><p><p>“Everything is a miracle. Every day is a miracle,” she wrote. “Let’s not waste the days we have.”</p></p>