In an unprecedented move that has sparked both admiration and controversy, Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey has nominated Appeals Court Judge Gabrielle R. Wolohojian for a coveted seat on the state’s Supreme Judicial Court. This nomination is not just any appointment; it carries with it a personal backstory that intertwines professional acumen with personal history. Wolohojian, who once shared a home and a romantic relationship with Governor Healey, stands on the cusp of joining the highest court in Massachusetts, pending approval.
Governor Healey, a trailblazer in her own right as the first woman and openly LGBTQ individual to hold the governor’s office in Massachusetts, praised Wolohojian’s qualifications with unwavering confidence. “There is no one more qualified or more well prepared to join the SJC than Justice Wolohojian,” Healey stated, underlining both her professional admiration and personal respect for the nominee. This nomination marks Healey’s second for the state’s Supreme Judicial Court, further cementing her commitment to diversity and excellence in the judiciary.
Professional Excellence and Personal Integrity
The decision to nominate Wolohojian was met with scrutiny and applause in equal measure. Amy Carnevale, chair of the Massachusetts Republican Party, criticized the nomination as “highly inappropriate,” citing the past romantic relationship between Healey and Wolohojian as a conflict of interest. However, Healey dismissed concerns over impartiality, emphasizing Wolohojian’s unparalleled qualifications and her current capability in presiding over matters involving state agencies without bias.
Justice Wolohojian’s career is distinguished by her tenure on the Appeals Court since February 2008, during which she has authored over 900 decisions. Her leadership as chair of the Supreme Judicial Court’s Advisory Committee on the Rules of Appellate Procedure further showcases her commitment to justice and legal excellence.
A Personal Journey from Law Partners to Leadership
The professional paths of Healey and Wolohojian first crossed at the Boston law firm of Hale & Dorr, laying the foundation for a relationship built on mutual respect and shared values. Their eight-year romantic partnership, during which they lived together and supported each other’s careers, adds a unique dimension to this nomination. Despite their past, both have continued to excel in their respective fields, with Healey rising to the governorship and Wolohojian poised to ascend to one of the most prestigious judicial positions in the state.
Wolohojian’s nomination is a testament to her professional achievements and the respect she commands in the legal community. Her background as an accomplished violinist and her academic accomplishments, including degrees from Rutgers University, the University of Oxford, and Columbia Law School, where she served as editor of the Columbia Law Review, highlight a multifaceted individual dedicated to both the arts and the law.