A Maine judge could become the first African American to serve on the state’s highest court. First, a confirmation hearing will be held before a committee of the Maine Legislature, according to the Associated Press.
Rick Lawrence, who has been a district judge for 20 years, was nominated by Maine Gov. Janet Mills to serve on the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.
Every justice on the Maine Supreme Court Judicial is white, there are no other justices that come from underrepresented groups.
Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, who just became the first Black woman U.S. Supreme Court justice, is not the only Black judge making history in court these days. She will become the first Black female justice when Justice Stephen Breyer retires this summer.
Although, her confirmation followed a weeks-long process in which she was vilified with derogatory attacks on her judicial record. But, she also voiced hopefulness for Black women attorneys who have also faced glass ceilings.
Gov. Mills has said that Lawrence would “administer justice fairly and impartially to the people, just as they deserve,” according to the Associated Press.
From the Associated Press Lawrence’s history in law:
Lawrence was originally nominated to the bench by then-Gov. Angus King, who now serves as an independent in the U.S. Senate, and he was nominated to continue serving by three more governors. He currently serves as deputy chief judge of the District Court.
Before becoming a judge, he worked as an attorney at Pierce Atwood and as an in-house counsel for disability insurer Unum.
If confirmed by the Senate, Lawrence would replace Justice Ellen Gorman, who announced her intent to retire in January 2021. Gorman has served on the court since 2007.
Friday’s hearing was before the Maine Legislature’s Committee on Judiciary. The Legislature, like the governor’s office, is controlled by Democrats.