Massachusetts Governor’s Council To Interview Governor Maura Healey’s Former Longtime Romantic Partner For State’s Highest Court Next Week

Printed from:

The Massachusetts Governor’s Council plans to interview Governor Maura Healey’s former longtime romantic partner next week in a confirmation hearing for the state’s highest court.

Gabrielle Wolohojian, 63, is a member of the Massachusetts Appeals Court, the state’s second highest court.

Wolohojian lived with Healey in a same-sex relationship from about 2007 until the summer of 2021, according to news reports.

The nomination has drawn praise from admirers of Wolohojian’s work as a judge, but criticism from people who say it’s unseemly for the governor to pick a former girlfriend for the state’s highest court.

“This nomination clearly demonstrates a lack of accountability inherent in one-party rule,” Massachusetts Republican Party chairman Amy Carnevale said in a written statement last week.

Some have also wondered whether Wolohojian might have to recuse herself from cases involving the Healey administration, though the governor has said that is not the case.

Healey during a press conference last week said there is “no one more qualified” than Wolohojian and said she was unanimously recommended by a judicial nominating committee, but refused to answer a question from a reporter about whether Wolohojian was the only candidate the committee recommended or whether Healey picked her from among a larger number of candidates recommended by the committee.

Healey touted what she called Wolohojian’s “incredible qualifications” during the press conference at the Massachusetts State House on Wednesday, February 7. (New Boston Post published a transcript of the governor’s back-and-forth with reporters that same day.)

The governor also acknowledged her personal history with the nominee.

“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,” Healey said.

The seven-member Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court considers appeals from lower state court decisions and occasionally issues advisory opinions to the state legislature.

The Massachusetts Constitution requires that state judges must retire at age 70 (Article XCVIII (Article 98)). State voters approved a referendum adding the amendment to the state constitution in 1972, by a margin of 76 to 24 percent.

In Massachusetts, the governor nominates candidates for judgeships and the elected eight-member Governor’s Council decides whether to confirm them. (The lieutenant governor, who ordinarily chairs Governor’s Council meetings, breaks ties. The governor chairs Governor’s Council meetings if the lieutenant governor is absent.)

The Governor’s Council rarely rejects nominees. A review of State House News Service archives found only two rejections during the past 11 years.

In July 2021, the Governor’s Council rejected on a 5-3 vote then-Governor Charlie Baker’s nominee for the state Parole Board, questioning the candidate’s qualifications and preparations for the position.

In May 2013, the Governor’s Council rejected on a 4-3 vote then-Governor Deval Patrick’s nominee for a district court judgeship in Worcester, with opponents criticizing the nominee’s lack of criminal case experience and questioning his integrity after his former law partners said he left their firm during the 1990s not because the firm was struggling, as he said, but because “he was playing a lot of golf during the afternoon, weather permitting” instead of fulfilling his work responsibilities.

The hearing on Wolohojian’s nomination is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, February 21 at the State House in Boston.

The Governor’s Council typically hears from supporters of the nominee, then from opponents of the nominee, then from the nominee, and then asks questions of the nominee. The council usually votes on the nomination during the following meeting, which usually takes place one or two weeks later.


New to NewBostonPost? Conservative media is hard to find in Massachusetts. But you’ve found it. Now dip your toe in the water for two bucks — $2 for two months. And join the real revolution.