Gov. Jay Inslee appoints Judge Raquel Montoya-Lewis to the State Supreme Court. COURTESY PHOTO, Office of the Governor

Gov. Jay Inslee appoints Judge Raquel Montoya-Lewis to the State Supreme Court. COURTESY PHOTO, Office of the Governor

Inslee appoints first Native American to State Supreme Court

Montoya-Lewis will move up from Whatcom County Superior Court

Gov. Jay Inslee helped usher in a historic day for the Washington State Supreme Court when he appointed Judge Raquel Montoya-Lewis as the first Native American justice Wednesday in Olympia.

Montoya-Lewis has more than 20 years of judicial experience, including five on the Whatcom County Superior Court in Bellingham. She spent years working with tribal communities in Washington and elsewhere, and is uniquely familiar with the challenges that tribal and rural communities face, according to a Inslee news release. She worked on issues to protect children from exploitation, and received the Children’s Advocacy Center Community Leadership Award in 2018.

“Because Judge Montoya-Lewis is Native American, many will focus on the historic nature of this appointment,” Inslee said in the release. “And it’s entirely appropriate to do so. But I want the record to show that Judge Montoya-Lewis is the kind of exceptional judge I want serving on the highest court in our state because she is the best person for the job.”

Montoya-Lewis will replace Justice Mary Fairhurst, who announced in October that she would retire to focus on her health.


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