King County Superior Court Judge Mary Yu was appointed Thursday to the Washington Supreme Court, becoming the sixth woman on the court, as well as the first Asian-American, Latina and openly gay member.
Yu will fill the seat of Justice Jim Johnson, who retired Wednesday from the court for health reasons.
“She has a very, very unique combination of life experiences and legal experiences to bring to this court,” said Gov. Jay Inslee, who announced the appointment at the Temple of Justice with all nine members of the high court present, including Johnson.
Yu served 14 years on the King County Superior Court, and was a prosecutor under the late Norm Maleng.
She is the daughter of two immigrants, her mother from Mexico and her father from China.
Speaking at Thursday’s announcement, Yu paid tribute to Johnson, saying he “served with honor, he remained true to his beliefs and to what he believed is right.”
Johnson was known as one of the most conservative members of the court,
Yu said she was “proud to come from the ranks” of the state’s trial court judges, describing them as the “work horses” of the court system.
“While I am from King County, I want each of you to know I am truly and earnestly committed to serving all the people of the state of Washington,” Yu said.
She must run for election in November to keep the seat and fill out the two years remaining on Johnson’s term.
TVW taped the announcement — watch it here.