Maine Senate confirms first Black justice to top state court

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The Maine Senate unanimously voted on Tuesday to confirm the first Black justice to the state’s highest court.

A legislative panel voted last week to confirm Rick Lawrence to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court. The Senate then issued its confirmation on Tuesday.

Lawrence, 66, became Maine’s first Black judge when he became a district judge in 2000, the Portland Press Herald reported. He currently serves as the deputy chief judge of the District Court.

Lawrence is on tap to replace Justice Ellen Gorman, who has announced her intent to retire. Gorman has served on the court since 2007.

The confirmation of Lawrence comes a week after the U.S. Senate confirmed Ketanji Brown Jackson to the U.S. Supreme Court, where she will serve as the first Black female justice.