Senate confirms Maine’s first Black high court justice

Tue, 04/12/2022 - 10:30pm

    AUGUSTA — On Tuesday, the Maine Senate voted to confirm Judge Rick E. Lawrence to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court. Judge Lawrence is the first Black Mainer to be appointed to the state’s highest court.

    “I am deeply honored by the opportunity to serve on the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, an appointment that comes with formidable responsibility and unparalleled opportunity to serve the people of our great state,” said Judge Lawrence. “I promise to work tirelessly to serve the people of Maine and to administer justice fairly and impartially to the people of Maine, just as they deserve.”

    Since 2000, Judge Lawrence has presided primarily in Courts within Androscoggin, Oxford, and Franklin counties, and he serves as the Deputy Chief Judge of the District Court. Judge Lawrence was first nominated to the District Court by Gov. Angus King and then renominated by Gov. John Baldacci, Gov. Paul LePage and Gov. Janet Mills.

    “I am proud that lawmakers have recognized Judge Lawrence’s extensive legal experience, measured temperament, strong intellect, and proven commitment to upholding the law and administering justice impartially. He will be an exceptional Justice on the Maine Supreme Judicial Court,” said Governor Mills. “I am honored to have made this historic nomination, and I congratulate Judge Lawrence on his confirmation. I believe his service on our highest court will greatly benefit the people of Maine.”

    In addition to his duties, Judge Lawrence also serves as the Presiding Judge for Androscoggin County Unified Criminal Docket’s Domestic Violence Judicial Monitoring Program and has served as the Presiding Judge for the Foreclosure Diversion Program for Androscoggin, Franklin and Oxford counties.

    Judge Lawrence also served as the Chair of the Judicial Branch Advisory Committee on Children and Families, which was charged with creating a guardian ad litem program for Maine. He served as a member of the Access and Visitation Advisory Committee and the Limited English Proficiency Committee, which helps formulate the Judicial Branch’s policy on interpretive services and supports. He also was an Adjunct Professor at the University of Maine School of Law.

    Judge Lawrence, 66, graduated from Harvard Law School and received his undergraduate degree from Yale. He lives in Portland with his wife and has two adult children.

    The Senate’s unanimous confirmation vote followed a unanimous vote by the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee. Governor Mills will swear in Judge Lawrence this month.