Retain Justice Mary Yu
Appointed by Governor Jay Inslee on May 1, 2014, Justice Yu joined the Supreme Court after more than 14 years as an accomplished trial court judge in King County Superior Court where she heard a wide variety of criminal and civil cases and presided over hundreds of adoptions and other family law matters. Justice Yu is the first Asian, the first of woman of color (Asian and Latina), and the first member of the LGBT community to serve on the Washington Supreme Court.
As a trial court judge, Justice Yu became known for treating everyone with respect and fairness, approaching each case with an open mind, and understanding that each decision she makes has an impact on an individual’s life. Because of this as well as her integrity, impartiality and thoughtful decisions, Justice Yu received the highest possible rating – Exceptionally Well Qualified – from Washington Women Lawyers, the Joint Asian Judicial Evaluation Committee, the Latina/o Bar Association, the Loren Miller Bar Association, the Cardozo Society Judicial Evaluation Committee and Q-Law, the GLBT Bar Association.
Justice Yu has a deep record of service both on and off the bench, mentoring young attorneys, law clerks and students, co-chairing the statewide Minority and Justice Commission, lecturing at Seattle University, helping lead the bar association’s leadership institute for young attorneys, and serving on the board of FareStart and the advisory board for the University of Washington School of Law’s Gates Public Service Program. She has officiated hundreds of weddings and adoptions, including our state’s first same-sex weddings on the first day couples of the same-sex could legally marry in our state.
In 2014, Justice Yu was selected by the Washington State Association for Justice as Judge of the Year. In 2013, the Municipal League Foundation named her “Public Official of the Year”. She received the 2014 Betty B. Fletcher Judge of the Year Award, Washington Women Lawyers, King County Chapter; 2013 Latina/o Amicus Award from Seattle University School of Law Latina/o Law Student Association; 2012 “President’s Award” from the Asian Bar Association of Washington; 2012 “Difference Makers Award” from the American Bar Association Solo, Small Firm and General Practice Division; 2011 “Judge of the Year” award from the Washington State Bar Association (shared with Justice Gonzalez); 2011 Seattle Girls’ School Grace Hopper Award; 2009 Norm Maleng Award from the Washington State Bar Association; 2008 “Judge of the Year” award from the Asian Bar Association; 2008 President’s Award from Washington Women Lawyers; 2006 “Model of Excellence” Award from the Latina/o Bar Association of Washington; and the 2005 “Judge of the Year” award from the American Board of Trial Advocates.
Before becoming a judge, Justice Yu served as Deputy Chief of Staff to King County Prosecutor Norm Maleng and as a deputy in the Criminal and Civil Divisions. Prior to attending law school, Justice Yu worked in the Peace and Justice Office for the Archdiocese of Chicago as staff and later appointed by Cardinal Bernardin as Director of that Office.
Justice Mary Yu was raised in Bridgeport (a south side neighborhood in Chicago) by immigrant parents; her mother came from Mexico and her father from China. She is the first in her family to graduate from college.
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