First Trans judge appointed to the bench in California history

Andi Mudryk is the first openly Trans judge to be appointed to the Sacramento County Superior Court in California.

A portrait of Andi Mudryk, who became the first Trans judge to be appointed in California.
Image: Via Twitter - @CaliforniaDOR

California made history when Governor Gavin Newsom appointed the first openly Trans judge to the bench in the state’s history. Judge Andi Mudryk has built her successful career advocating for disability rights.

After judge Benjamin Davidian’s retirement, Governor Gavin Newsom decided the appointment of Andi Mudryk to the Sacramento County Superior Court. Although she is not the first openly Trans person to serve in the court, as judge Victoria Kolakowski earned that title when she was elected in 2010, Mudryk is the first one to be appointed by a Governor.

Kolakowski took to Twitter to congratulate her new colleague, saying: “I’m the elected one (the first one). Andi Mudryk is a great appointment and will be a wonderful judge. I’m glad to finally have a trans colleague on the bench in California.”

Mudryk explained that she decided to embark on a legal career due to her experiences as a Trans woman, a person with a disability, the parent of a Black man and the descendant of Jewish Holocaust survivors. She served as managing attorney, director of litigation and deputy director at Disability Rights California for 11 years. She then became the chief counsel of the California Department of Rehabilitation in 2018 until she moved to the position of Chief Deputy Director in 2020.

Now, this impressive career has led her to be one of California’s eight new judges. She commented on her appointment by saying: “I’m grateful to Gov. Newsom’s leadership, making his vision of a California for all come true in many aspects, including fully diversifying the bench”.

Her appointment comes as refreshing news given the increasing attacks on Trans rights that have taken place in other US states such as Idaho or Texas. Equality California executive director Tony Hoang issued a statement with the following words: “As governors and state legislatures across the country attack the trans community, we applaud Gov. Newsom’s continued commitment to increasing trans representation”. He added that “California continues to remind the rest of the country that LGBTQ+ voices are essential to achieve full equality.”

Executive director of the State Bar of California Leah Wilson also praised the decision to appoint judge Mudryk, claiming that this would be “a touchstone moment in California history” that could lead to increased opportunities for Trans people in the legal profession. “The values of diversity, equity and inclusion are fundamental to the State Bar’s mission, and I thank our Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation for their important work, and I applaud Gov. Newsom on his commitment to a diverse judiciary,” she added.

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