Senate unanimously confirms Hon. Rick E. Lawrence to Maine Supreme Judicial Court

Posted: April 12, 2022 | Senator Carney, Senator Hickman, Senator Jackson
Judge Rick E. Lawrence (center) with Gov. Janet Mills and Maine Senate Democrats

AUGUSTA — On Tuesday, the Maine Senate voted to confirm Hon. Judge Rick E. Lawrence to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court. Judge Lawrence is the first Black Mainer to be appointed to the state’s highest court. Senate Democrats released the following statements in support of this historic confirmation:

Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash:

“Government is at its best when it reflects the diversity and experiences of Maine people. With the historic appointment of Judge Lawrence to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, Maine is inching closer to this goal. In his 22 years on the bench, Judge Lawrence has proven to be smart, tough, compassionate and fair. Amid the uncertainty in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Judge Lawrence worked to ensure that Mainers could still get justice through the District Court system, implementing new technology while working to ensure the health and safety of staff and the public. Between his impressive resume and two decades of leadership on the District Court, it was truly an honor to support the historic nomination of Judge Lawrence to Maine’s highest court.” 

Sen. Anne Carney, Senate Chair of the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee:

“As co-chair of the Judiciary Committee, I was honored and proud to facilitate the judicial confirmation hearing for District Judge Rick Lawrence last week. No stranger to breaking barriers, Judge Lawrence made history when he became the first African American judge in Maine 22 years ago. On the bench he is known for his wisdom, kindness and legal expertise, especially in family law matters. Today, my colleagues and I watched this highly qualified judge make history again by voting to confirm Judge Lawrence’s appointment to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court. He now becomes the first African American to sit on Maine’s highest court.”

Sen. Craig Hickman:

“Judge Lawrence has decades of experience in the court that is near and dear to my heart. As an adoptee, I know the vital importance of family court services, especially to protect all our children from neglect and abuse. It brings pure joy to my heart to see such an esteemed candidate nominated for this position. As the first Black lawmaker to serve in the Maine Senate in a generation, I take particular pride in being able to vote to confirm the first Black justice to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court. This is a momentous day for Maine. My parents are smiling down from heaven.”

Since 2000, Judge Lawrence has presided primarily in Courts within Androscoggin, Oxford, and Franklin counties, and he serves as the Deputy Chief Judge of the District Court. Judge Lawrence was first nominated to the District Court by Gov. Angus King and then renominated by Gov. John Baldacci, Gov. Paul LePage and Gov. Janet Mills.

In addition to his duties, Judge Lawrence also serves as the Presiding Judge for Androscoggin County Unified Criminal Docket’s Domestic Violence Judicial Monitoring Program and has served as the Presiding Judge for the Foreclosure Diversion Program for Androscoggin, Franklin and Oxford counties.

Judge Lawrence also served as the Chair of the Judicial Branch Advisory Committee on Children and Families, which was charged with creating a guardian ad litem program for Maine. He served as a member of the Access and Visitation Advisory Committee and the Limited English Proficiency Committee, which helps formulate the Judicial Branch’s policy on interpretive services and supports. He also was an Adjunct Professor at the University of Maine School of Law.

Judge Lawrence, 66, graduated from Harvard Law School and received his undergraduate degree from Yale. He lives in Portland with his wife and has two adult children.