Massachusetts Elected Officials Defend Appeals Court Judge from Unfair Criticism Over Former Romantic Relationship

Boston, MA – Two Massachusetts officials responsible for confirming judges have criticized attempts to link the suitability of Appeals Court Judge Gabrielle Wolohojian for a vacancy on the state’s highest court to her past relationship with Governor Maura Healey. The Governor’s Council, which regularly approves judicial recommendations, is now tasked with reviewing Wolohojian’s qualifications for an open seat on the Supreme Judicial Court. Councilor Eileen Duff, who believes Wolohojian is highly qualified, expressed her frustration with the focus on the past romance instead of the judge’s professional background. Wolohojian, an Appeals Court judge for 16 years, received Healey’s nomination after a five-member commission unanimously recommended her. The Governor’s Council is tentatively scheduled to hold a hearing on her nomination on February 21.

The nomination of Wolohojian has faced criticism from Massachusetts GOP Chair Amy Carnevale, who called it “highly inappropriate” and urged Healey to withdraw the nomination. Councilor Tara Jacobs stated that she has received calls expressing enthusiasm and excitement for the judge, but some who do not know her personally are not pleased with the nomination. Jacobs plans to ask Wolohojian about her past relationship with Healey and how it could potentially impact her work. Healey defended the nomination, stating that Wolohojian was the most qualified candidate according to the commission’s recommendation and that her personal relationship with the judge provided insight into her character.

Councilor Terrence Kennedy stated that he will focus on Wolohojian’s professional qualifications rather than her past relationship with the governor when considering the nomination. He praised Wolohojian as an incredibly bright jurist. Marty Murphy, a member of the Supreme Judicial Court Nominating Commission, also highlighted Wolohojian’s work ethic and praised her qualifications.

The hearing on Wolohojian’s nomination is scheduled for February 21. Healey has stated that Wolohojian will not have to recuse herself from cases before the Supreme Judicial Court involving state agencies and the executive office. The Governor’s Council will ultimately decide whether to approve or reject her nomination.