Whatcom County Superior Court Judge Raquel Montoya-Lewis, wearing an eagle feather honoring her Native American heritage, smiles as she speaks with media members after being named to the state Supreme Court on Wednesday in Olympia. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Whatcom County Superior Court Judge Raquel Montoya-Lewis, wearing an eagle feather honoring her Native American heritage, smiles as she speaks with media members after being named to the state Supreme Court on Wednesday in Olympia. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Superior Court judge appointed to the state Supreme Court

Whatcom County judge Raquel Montoya-Lewis will be the first Native American to serve on the high court.

By Rachel La Corte / Associated Press

OLYMPIA — Whatcom County Superior Court Judge Raquel Montoya-Lewis was appointed to the state Supreme Court Wednesday by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, who said she will be the first Native American justice to serve on the state’s highest court.

Montoya-Lewis, an enrolled member of the Pueblo of Isleta and a descendant of the Pueblo of Laguna Indian tribes, will be sworn in next month to fulfill the remaining year of Chief Justice Mary Fairhurst’s term, and the seat will be open for election in 2020. Montoya-Lewis will not serve as chief justice on the nine-member court. Justice Debra Stephens was elected by her fellow members of the court to take that top spot, and will be sworn into her new role in January.

In October, Fairhurst announced she will retire from the high court in January to focus on her health as she fights a third bout of cancer.

Montoya-Lewis, 51, was previously appointed to the superior court by Inslee and ran for re-election unopposed in both 2015 and 2016.

Before her appointment to the superior court, Montoya-Lewis served as the chief judge for the Nooksack and Upper Skagit Indian Tribes in Washington and worked as an associate professor for Western Washington University for more than 12 years. She also previously served with the Lummi Nation Tribal Court, and served as a judge for the Northwest Intertribal Court System.

As superior court judge, she has taught classes on implicit bias throughout the state to judges, court employees and others.

The other members of the court are: Justices Barbara Madsen, Charles Johnson, Susan Owens, Steven Gonzalez, Sheryl Gordon McCloud, Charles Wiggins and Mary Yu.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Lunches available despite ‘terrible’ senior center closure

Homage Senior Services continues to provide weekday meals at Carl Gipson Senior Center and other sites.

Texan comes to defend Snohomish outlaw barber cutting hair

Bob Martin is defying orders to close. The man he calls his attorney didn’t go to law school.

Everett man identified as victim of deadly gunfire at party

William Thomas Harper III, 28, was shot to death Sunday. His alleged assailant is jailed.

2 more sentenced in killing of Everett homeless man

Three people were involved in a robbery during which Michael Boone was tied to a tree and left to freeze.

Divers looking for wedding ring find car at bottom of lake

A Snohomish County technical water rescue team helped locate the Ford Taurus so it could be retrieved.

Police: Man likely stole from 20 people in Edmonds, Woodway

Edmonds police reportedly retrieved a dozen bags of stolen goods after arresting a Lynnwood man, 24.

Registration open for drive-thru virus testing in Snohomish

Tests will be administered Thursday at the Sno-Isle Libraries branch on Maple Avenue.

Inslee wants nursing home residents, staff tested by June 12

Governor says state will pay for test kits and personal protective equipment.

Parade is a city-wide celebration for Marysville grads

A group of parents has planned a parade Friday night. It will pass each of the district’s high schools.

Most Read