BOSTON (CBS/AP) — Gov. Charlie Baker has announced his pick for a new associate justice to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. He is nominating Associate Appeals Court Justice Dalila Argaez Wendlandt. She would be the first Latina to serve on the state’s highest court.

Baker is filling the seat held by the late Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph Gants who passed away last month.

Colleagues and members of the legal profession the administration talked to described Wendlandt as “brilliant, a home run, a great colleague who compromises, and has a great sense of humor,” Baker said at a news conference.

Wendlandt has served on the appeals court, the state’s second highest court, since 2017.

Born in New Orleans, she is the daughter of Colombian immigrants and has engineering degrees from the University of Illinois and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a law degree from Stanford University Law School.

“I am honored and humbled to be considered by you as worthy to sit alongside the legal giants that currently make up that bench,” Wendlandt said.

She thanked her parents for having the courage to move to the U.S.

“I am keenly aware that I have this opportunity, this nomination today, because of their decision to build a family in this new land and adopt it as their own home,” she said.

Last week, Baker nominated Justice Kimberly Budd to replace Gants as the chief of the state’s highest court.

There are six associate justices and a chief justice on the SJC. Each are nominated by the governor and all need to be approved by the Governor’s Council.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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