WSU Political Science Scholar Dies

PULLMAN, Wash. — The foremost scholar on the Washington State Supreme Court,
Washington State University professor emeritus Charles Sheldon, died Sept. 9 in a local hospital.
The retired political science faculty member was 70.
Sheldon’s most recent book, “Choosing Justice: The Country,” was published in 1997 by the
WSU Press.
His highly acclaimed books also include “The High Bench: A Biographical History of the
Washington Supreme Court, 1889-1991″ (1992), biographies of 80 Washington Supreme Court
justices and the 28 territorial justices, examinations of frontier justice and landmark legal events.
Among his other books are “Government and Politics in the Evergreen State” (1992), “A Century
of Judging: A Political History of the Washington Supreme Court” (1988), and “Justice North of
the Columbia.”
He also was recognized for his study of how the method used to select judges
— recruitment, appointment or election — affects their actions on the bench. In 1994, he was
awarded the Claudius O. and Mary W. Johnson Professorship in Political Science.
Sheldon was successful in bringing a Supreme Court session to the WSU campus. Court
justices were frequent speakers in his classroom.
Sheldon earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Washington, and a
doctorate from the University of Oregon. He joined the WSU faculty in 1970.
A memorial service for Sheldon is set for 3 p.m. Wednesday (Sept. 15), at Pullman’s Simpson
United Methodist Church.