In 2012, Bill Gates and friends spent close to $20 million to win a referendum allowing charter schools, after losing the previous three such referenda. To their chagrin, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled that charter schools are not public schools because they do not answer to elected school boards. Thus, they are not entitled to receive public funding intended for public schools. This made Gates and friends really angry.

Now, Peter Greene tells us what Gates and friends are doing about the mess. They are spending another load of money to oust judges on the State Supreme Court, to punish them for daring to deny public funding to privately managed charter schools. They are literally trying to buy control of Washington’s highest court.

So here’s Chief Justice Barbara Madsen, the author of the 2015 decision that ruled Washington’s charter law unconstitutional. She is being opposed by Greg Zempel who doesn’t like how capricious and random the court’s decisions are. Zempel has been backed by a pile of money from Stand for Children, an Oregon reformster group that has funneled money to his campaign from Connie Ballmer, wife of former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer; Reed Hastings, founder and CEO of Netflix; and Vulcan Inc., owned by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. Vulcan and Ballmer were big financial backers of the charter law that was struck down.

Also facing reformster-backed challenge is Justice Charlie Wiggins (who is nothing if not a snappy dresser). Charteristas must sense a vulnerability because as we come down to the wire, they have pumped almost a million dollars into the campaign of Federal Way Municipal Court Judge Dave Larson. Vulcan tossed in $300K and Gates threw in $200K of his own. Meanwhile, one more fly-by-night PAC, Judicial Integrity Washington has dropped $350K on a tv ad smear campaign against Wiggins featuring ads that other members of the legal community likened to the infamous Willie Horton ads used against Dukakis way back in the– well, shut up, kid. Some of us remember that.

Parent activist Dora Taylor in Seattle writes that Bill Gates is so eager to gain control of the Washington State Supreme Court that he is backing a climate-change denier for a seat on the state’s highest court.

So we know that billionaires can buy legislators; they do that all the time. Now will they be able to buy Washington’s highest court, which had the nerve to stand up for public education as defined in the state constitution?