Maura Healey Nominates Former Longtime Romantic Partner To Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2024/02/07/maura-healey-nominates-former-longtime-romantic-partner-to-massachusetts-supreme-judicial-court/

Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey has nominated a former longtime romantic partner to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.

The nominee, Gabrielle Wolohojian, 63, who owned the four-bedroom condominium in Charlestown where she and Healey lived as a same-sex couple for more than a decade, has served on the Massachusetts Appeals Court since 2008. It’s the state’s second highest court.

The Charlestown condominium was Healey’s headquarters during her first run for state Attorney General in 2014 and her successful re-election campaign in 2018. Wolohojian bought the condominium for $1,425,000 in May 2010 and sold it for $2,800,000 in November 2021, according to Suffolk County Registry of Deeds online records.

Healey and Wolohojian had been a couple for eight years as of July 2015, according to a Boston Magazine profile of Healey. They met when they both worked as lawyers for the Boston law firm Hale & Dorr.

Healey, 52, moved out of the condominium in Charlestown during the summer of 2021, according to The Boston Herald, several months before announcing her run for governor in January 2022. Healey was elected governor in November 2022.

The governor’s office did not mention the governor’s long-time personal history with Wolohojian in a press release Wednesday announcing the nomination.

Amy Carnevale, chairman of the Massachusetts Republican Party, criticized the pick.

“This nomination clearly demonstrates a lack of accountability inherent in one-party rule,” Carnivale said in a written statement.

Healey defended the nomination during a press conference at the Massachusetts State House on Wednesday, February 7, saying “There is no one more qualified” than Wolohojian and calling the nomination “what the Commonwealth deserves.”

“Of course I had a personal relationship with Judge Wolohojian for many years. So I happen to also know something about her character and integrity and the kind of person she is,” Healey said (at 4:41 of the video published by State House News Service).

Wolohojian, if confirmed by the Massachusetts Governor’s Council, would replace David Lowy, who left the the state’s highest court on Sunday, February 4, his 64th birthday, to take a job as general counsel for the University of Massachusetts.

During the press conference Wednesday, reporters peppered Healey with questions about the nomination of Wolohojian.

A transcript of the back-and-forth appears below:

 

 

Reporter:  The MassGOP said your SJC pick was highly inappropriate and even nepotistic.  Why is it not nepotistic?  Given your past relationship.

 

Governor Maura Healey:  As you can imagine, and as a former lawyer, one of the greatest responsibilities I have is to name judges, and in particular, justices to the Supreme Judicial Court. It’s a responsibility that not only is constitutional, it is one that I take very seriously. There is no one more qualified and more well-prepared to join the SJC than Justice Woholojian. I’m proud of that nomination. And I’m proud of nominating somebody who is so deserving and so qualified.  It is what the Commonwealth deserves.

 

Reporter:  How big, in fact, is your longstanding relationship and personal history with her in choosing her?

 

Governor Maura Healey:  The way this comes forward, actually, is through a judicial nominating committee process, ahm, where there is a review of applications. And it was the unanimous recommendation to me that I name — that I nominate Justice Woholojian, based on her impeccable credentials and her qualifications. And so I took that recommendation very seriously.

Of course, I had a personal relationship with Judge Woholojian for many years, so I happen to also know something about her character and integrity and the kind of person she is.

Also, you’ve seen that — not just from me, somebody who had a personal relationship with her — but also so many people who have worked with her, who have known her, who have come forward — that the support for her has been overwhelming from the legal community and beyond. And I think that speaks to the incredible qualifications she brings to this position, and what she will do.

 

Reporter:  Governor, in fairness, was there no one else more qualified?

 

Governor Maura Healey:  No.

No, and not according to the committee. And I think if you follow some of the commentary and see, stepping forward, the reaction has been one of overwhelming support.

There is no one more qualified. I am very comfortable in saying that. If you look at her record, and then you look at her career, as a lawyer and then as a judge these past 16 years on the appeals court, there is no one more qualified or more prepared.

You know, I don’t want the fact that she had a personal relationship with me to deprive the Commonwealth of a person who’s most qualified for the position.

 

Reporter:  Do you worry that that personal relationship could interfere with this nomination going the distance?

 

Governor Maura Healey:  No, I don’t think so, because from here on out, there’s a process, of course.  I’m a part of it.  Excuse me.  But what we move to next, of course, is consideration by the Governor’s Council, and that process will unfold in the next few weeks.

 

Reporter:  Was Justice Wolohojian’s name the only one recommended to you for this vacancy?  Or did you pick her among a group of people recommended?

 

Governor Maura Healey:  I’m not going to get into how we, how we engage with the Judicial Nominating Committee. I will tell you, once again, that she had the unanimous and unqualified support of the entirety of the commission. And I think that support has been echoed in the comments and the commentary you’ve seen since my announcement.

 

Reporter:  Will she have to recuse herself from any cases before the SJC because of her past relationship with you?

 

Governor Maura Healey:  No.

 

Reporter:  Why?

 

Governor Maura Healey:  Well, in fact, Justice Wolohojian currently presides and has presided over matters involving state agencies in the executive office. And there’s no reason for that to change.

 

Reporter:  It seems like this kind of toes the line of SJC policy. What would you say to that, and to the response back to the GOP?  Like we were saying earlier, you said that this might be pushing off [inaudible] —

 

Governor Maura Healey:  Again, my responsibility to name judges, to name justices to the SJC is something I take very seriously. And my job is to make sure that we put forward the very best candidates for a position. There is no one more qualified. There is no one more prepared than Justice Wolohojian for this position. It’s not just my words of nomination.  It’s also the unanimous recommendation of the committee. And I think you see the overwhelming support for her in the reactions and commentary from the legal community and outside of the legal community in the wake of her nomination and this announcement.

 

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