Senate Confirms Slate of Groundbreaking Judicial Appointments
STATE HOUSE — The Senate today approved several judicial appointments that will help diversify the state court system, including the first person of color to the Supreme Court and appointments that will result in the first majority-female Supreme Court, the first Asian-American to the Superior Court, and the first Latina to the Family Court.
All judicial appointments require the advice and consent of the Senate. Appointments to the Supreme Court also require consent from the House of Representatives, which gave its approval on Wednesday.
Gov. Gina Raimondo named Superior Court Judge Melissa Long and former Sen. Erin Lynch Prata to the Rhode Island Supreme Court. Judge Long will replace retiring Associate Justice Francis X. Flaherty and former Senator Lynch Prata will replace retiring Associate Justice Gilbert V. Indeglia.
In addition, the Senate confirmed the appointments of Richard D. Raspallo and Linda Rekas Sloan as associate justices of Rhode Island Superior 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 ever, we will have a majority of women on the Rhode Island Supreme Court. For the first time ever, we will have a woman of color on the Supreme Court. For the first time ever, we will have a Latina on the Family Court and an Asian-American on the Superior Court. That representation of Rhode Island’s diverse and rich tapestry of culture and heritage will have a profound impact on the state’s justice system for years to come.”
The Senate also confirmed the appointments of Patrick Tigue as the Health Insurance Commissioner beginning January 10; James Thorsen as Director of the Department of Revenue; and Mark Furcolo as the Director of the Division of State Lottery.
Additionally, 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 additional appointments, the Senate confirmed Lisa Andoscia, Christine DiBiase, Esq., and Leonard Lopes, to the Narragansett Bay Commission, and the reappointment of James Bennett, Jina Petrarca, and Mario Carlino to the Narragansett Bay Commission.