Rep. Diaz Lauds Governor for Nominating Women of Color to Several Judicial Positions 


STATE HOUSE — Calling it a great victory for women of color, Rep. Grace Diaz (D-Dist. 11, Providence) is applauding Gov. Gina Raimondo’s recent judicial nominations.

Superior Court Judge Melissa Long has been selected to serve on the Rhode Island Supreme Court. If approved by the General Assembly, Long would be the first Black justice on the state’s high court. In addition, Raimondo nominated Central Falls Municipal Court Judge Elizabeth Ortiz to the Family Court. If approved by the Senate, she would be the first Latina to sit on the bench of the court that handles most child custody cases, family  and juvenile issues.

“I am so delighted for all women,” said Representative Diaz “Our female governor, Gina Raimondo, is making history by including women in the judiciary system, especially women of color. This is a great day for women of color and for Rhode Island’s courts — and it’s long overdue. Judge Long, with a very agile legal mind, has shown herself to be committed to the law and justice in Rhode Island, and I will be very proud to vote for her confirmation when the House of Representatives comes back into session. I am also particularly proud that Judge Ortiz, whose nomination I have long fought for, will serve on the Family Court. She has already accomplished so much for the Latino community. I look forward to seeing the good work she will do in one of Rhode Island’s most important courts.”

Long was appointed to fill the vacancy left by retiring Justice Francis X. Flaherty. In addition, Governor Raimondo appointed Sen. Erin Lynch Prata, who did not run for re-election this year, to fill a vacancy left by retired Justice Gilbert V. Indeglia. If both appointments are confirmed, it will be the first time in history that women have a majority on the state’s Supreme Court.

In addition to the two Supreme Court picks, Governor Raimondo also nominated Linda Rekas Sloan as a Superior Court judge. That appointment, which requires the approval of the Senate, would make her first Asian-American on the Superior Court.

“It is very gratifying not only to finally see this sort of diversity in our justice system, but to see these eminently qualified women elevated to positions where they will bring a tremendous amount of experience, professionalism and legal ability to our courts,” said Representative Diaz.”