A veteran judge has been confirmed as the first person of color to sit on Maine’s highest court.
Governor Janet Mills had nominated judge Rick Lawrence to replace retiring associate justice Ellen Gorman on the Supreme Judicial Court. She has been at the court since 2007.
His nomination follows criticism from the Brennan Center that Maine was one of the few states to not have a person of color on its state high court.
Judge Lawrence, a graduate of Harvard Law School and Yale as an undergrad, has been a district court judge for about 22 years. He was nominated in 2000 by then governor Angus King, and had been renominated by Mr. King’s successors.
He presided over courts in Androscoggin, Oxford, and Franklin Counties until his confirmation. He also served as the Deputy Chief Judge of the District Court, a position he has held since 2020.
Before being elevated to the bench, judge Lawrence worked as a senior attorney and executive at the insurance company Unum. He was also an associate at Pierce Atwood.
Judge Lawrence’s nomination was subject to confirmation by the Legislature’s Joint Standing Committee on the Judiciary and the Maine State Senate.