RI Senate Confirms Judicial Appointments, Including First Minority to Majority-Female Supreme Court

Saturday 19th December 2020

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Melissa Long is the first minority group in Rhode Island history to stand before the Supreme Court – which will now have a female majority.

The Rhode Island Senate on Friday approved several court appointments, including the first colored person to the Supreme Court and appointments that will lead to the first majority female Supreme Court, the first Asian-American Supreme Court, and the first Latina Family Court.

Governor Gina Raimondo appointed Supreme Court Justice Melissa Long and former Senator Erin Lynch Prata to the Rhode Island Supreme Court. Judge Long will replace retired Associate Justice Francis X. Flaherty and Senator Lynch Prata will replace retired Associate Justice Gilbert V. Indeglia.

In addition, the Senate upheld the appointment of Richard D. Raspallo and Linda Rekas Sloan as Associate Justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Court, Kevin B. Reall as Associate Justice of the Worker’s Compensation Court, and Elizabeth Ortiz as Associate Justice of the Family Court.

“These appointments represent an important step forward for diversity in the Rhode Island judiciary,” said Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence). “For the first time we will have a majority of women on the Rhode Island Supreme Court. For the first time we will have a woman of color on the Supreme Court. For the first time we will have a Latina in family court and an Asian-American in the Supreme Court. This portrayal of Rhode Island’s diverse and rich cultural and cultural heritage will have profound implications for the state’s judicial system in the years to come. ”

All judicial appointments require the consultation and approval of the Senate. The appointment to the Supreme Court also requires the approval of the House of Representatives, which gave its approval on Wednesday.

Additional appointments

The Senate also confirmed the appointment of Patrick Tigue as health insurance commissioner from Jan. 10. James Thorsen as director of the finance department; and Mark Furcolo as director of the State Lottery Department.

In addition, the Senate confirmed Patricia M. DiCenso and Michael Almeida to the Board of Education; and Marcus Mitchell and Iraida Williams to the Human Rights Commission.

Among others, the Senate confirmed Lisa Andoscia, Christine DiBiase, Esq. And Leonard Lopes on the Narragansett Bay Commission and the reappointments of James Bennett, Jina Petrarca and Mario Carlino on the Narragansett Bay Commission.

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