CWU News

Panelists to Explore How State and Federal Constitutions Protect Freedoms

A panel of legal and first amendment experts will address questions about how the state and federal constitutions protect freedom and justice—and ensure that none of three branches of government overwhelms the other —from 10:30 a.m. to 12 noon on February 15 in the Student Union and Recreation Center Theatre (SURC) on the Central Washington University campus.


The panel, entitled, “Balancing Act: How the Federal and State Constitutions Protect Freedom and Justice,” will be moderated by CWU President James L. Gaudino. Questions for panelists will be solicited from CWU students and faculty in advance of the event.


Panel members include:


• Judge Robert S. Lasnik, who holds senior status with the U.S. District Court, Western District of Washington. Lasnik served on the district court from 1998-2016 and was chief judge of the court from 2004-2011. He was a King County Superior Court Judge from 1990-1998 and worked for 11 years in the King County Prosecutor’s Office. He has a law degree from the University of Washington School of Law, master’s degrees in journalism and in counseling from Northwestern University, and dual degrees in psychology and sociology from Brandeis University.


• Justice Steve González, who is a member of the Washington State Supreme Court. Before joining the court in 2012, he served as a trial judge on the King County Superior Court hearing criminal, civil, juvenile, and family law cases. Prior to that, he was an Assistant United States Attorney in the Western District of Washington, a Domestic Violence Prosecutor for the City of Seattle and in private practice at a Seattle law firm. He holds a degree in East Asian Studies from Pitzer College and a law degree from the U.C. Berkeley School of Law as well as Honorary Doctor of Laws Degrees from Gonzaga University School of Law (2011) and the University of Puget Sound (2015).


• Lisa Marshall Manheim, who is an assistant professor at the University of Washington School of Law, where she primarily teaches constitutional law, election law and about the federal courts. In 2015, she earned the Washington Law Review’s Richard O. Kummert Outstanding Contribution Award. Prior to joining the UW law school faculty in 2013, Manheim was an associate at Perkins Cole LLP in Seattle from 2007-2011 and clerked under U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. She graduated from Harvard Law School and has a BA in English from Yale.

• Rowland Thompson, who is the executive director of the Allied Daily Newspapers of Washington. Prior to taking that post in 1990, he worked as a staffer with the Washington State House and for the Washington Senate Democratic caucus. He serves as secretary of the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Association and was the 2006 winner of the Washington Coalition for Open Government’s Madison Award, given to an individual or organization who has demonstrated a long-term commitment to open government. Thompson grew up working at family-owned weekly newspapers in Washington. He is a graduate of Whitman College.


An important part of the discussion will be the important role of the Fourth Estate in ensuring the transparency of government and in preserving First Amendment rights.


Media contact: Richard Moreno, director of content development, 509-963-2714,