Gov. Inslee has appointed former Doc Hastings opponent George Fearing to the State Court of Appeals.

Inslee's office today announced the attorney will take his bench June 24. The Washington State Court of Appeals has three divisions. Division III  covers all of Eastern Washington and is sub-divided further into districts. Fearing's district will include Adams, Asotin, Benton, Columbia, Franklin, Garfield, Grand, Walla Walla and Whitman counties.

Fearing is perhaps best known for his congressional challenge to Rep. Doc Hastings in 2008. Fearing had significant funding from the Democratic Party, and at one stage was outgaining Hastings financially. The GOP did end up outspending Fearing in the November campaign by nearly a 3-1 margin.

He failed to unseat Doc, gaining only 37 percent of the vote -- a difference of nearly 70,000 ballots.

Fearing has a respected reputation in the region, serving on many boards and committees, and is currently a partner at Leavy, Schultz, Davis and Fearing law in Kennewick.

Critics say it's yet another example of Democratic partisanship by Inslee, who has had a number of his administration appointments questioned. Fearing has over 30 years of experience and more than meets the criteria for serving, but critics are disappointed Inslee continues to appoint Democrats to most of his key non-partisan positions.