If confirmed by the Governor’s Council, Lenk would be the first openly gay judge on the state’s highest court. She would also be the only justice who was married as a result of the court’s landmark 2003 ruling that made Massachusetts the first state in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage in 2004.
The nomination of Lenk comes after the governor named Roderick Ireland to be the first African-American chief justice of the SJC, and Fernande R.V. Duffly to be the first Asian-American judge on the state’s high court. Patrick has spoken of his desire to make the judiciary and other branches of government more reflective of the state's diversity. ...
A specialist in civil litigation and First Amendment issues, Lenk holds a doctorate in political philosophy from Yale University and a law degree from Harvard Law School. In 1993, Governor William F. Weld, a Republican, appointed her to the Superior Court, where she served until 1995, when Weld appointed her to the Appeals Court. She was considered a top choice under Weld, but was never selected by him.
Lenk would fill the seat vacated by Justice Judith A. Cowin, who will retire in April.
Lenk would become the third openly lesbian state supreme court justice nominated in recent months. Colorado Deputy Attorney General Monica Marquez became the first Latino and the first openly gay jurist on that state's high court in December 2010. Judge Sabrina McKenna was confirmed to the Hawaii Supreme Court in February.