Patrick Nominates First Openly Gay SJC Justice

By The Associated Press

Apr. 4, 2011

BOSTON — Gov. Deval Patrick has tapped Barbara Lenk, who would be the first openly gay Supreme Judicial Court justice, to fill an open slot on Massachusetts' highest court.

Barbara Lenk (

Patrick nominated Lenk, a state appellate court justice, on Monday.

In a statement, Patrick called Lenk a "brilliant and thoughtful jurist, with a deep sense of justice."

Lenk was appointed to the Superior Court by former Gov. William Weld in 1993 and was named to the appeals court in 1995.

She was selected by Patrick to succeed Judith Cowin, who announced in January that she planned to retire this this month.

All judicial nominations must be approved by the Governor's Council.

Lenk is the governor's fifth nomination to the seven-person court. His last nominee, Fernande Duffly, became the first Asian-American judge on the state's highest court. Before that, Patrick nominated Rodrick Ireland to the post of Chief Justice, making him the first African American to fill the role.

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