Senate confirms Valerie Stanfill as Maine's chief justice

·1 min read

Jun. 3—The Maine Senate voted Thursday to confirm Valerie Stanfill as the next chief justice of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.

Stanfill received unanimous support from the 34 senators present Thursday following a unanimous committee endorsement earlier this week. The 63-year-old Wayne resident will now lead the seven-member Maine Supreme Judicial Court, the state's top appellate court, as well as oversee operations within the Judicial Branch.

Stanfill has served as a Maine Superior Court justice for Androscoggin, Franklin and Oxford counties since last year. She was a judge on the Maine District Court bench from 2007 to 2020 and had previously worked as a trial attorney, director of the Cumberland Legal Aid Clinic and visiting clinical professor at the University of Maine School of Law.

Gov. Janet Mills nominated Stanfill last month and the nominee received broad support from attorneys, judges and others in the field during her confirmation hearing before the Legislature's Judiciary Committee. Among those who supported Stanfill was former Chief Justice Leigh Saufley, who stepped down last year to become dean of the University of Maine School of Law.

Saufley, who was the first woman to serve as chief justice of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, credited Stanfill with having "a clear vision of justice"

"That clarity will serve the state well as the courts grapple with the unavoidable backlogs caused by the pandemic, the challenges of providing open access to digital records with insufficient public funding and the upcoming challenges that we cannot envision today," Saufley said during the confirmation hearing.

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