Friday, May 09, 2014

New Washington State Supreme Court Justice Has Extensive Religious Background

Washington state Governor Jay Inslee announced last week that he has appointed state trial court judge Mary Yu to the Washington state Supreme Court to fill a vacancy created by the retirement of Justice Jim Johnson.  While the media (Seattle Times article) has focused on the fact that Yu is the first openly gay, and first Asian-American justice on the Washington Supreme Court, less attention has been given to her academic training in theology and her work experience prior to law school in the Catholic Church. Yu received a bachelor's degree in religious studies from Dominican University in River Forest, Ill., in 1979.  She then went to work for the Office of Peace and Justice of the Chicago Catholic Archdiocese, eventually becoming director of the office.  She received a master's degree in theology from Loyola University in 1989, and moved to Washington state to work at the Washington state Catholic Bishop's Conference. However in 1990 she enrolled in Notre Dame law school, also working as an assistant rector in an undergraduate women's dormitory. (Biography from Wikipedia, Equal Justice Newsletter).