Raquel Montoya-Lewis was sworn in on Monday, January 6, becoming the first Native American Supreme Court judge in Washington State.
An enrolled member of the Pueblo of Isleta and a descendant of the Pueblo of Laguna, Montoya-Lewis was appointed as the new Washington Supreme Court Justice on December 4, 2019, by Gov. Jay Inslee. She is fulfilling the remaining term of former Chief Justice Mary Fairhurst, who retired in January amidst her battle with cancer. Montoya-Lewis has announced her intent to run when her seat is up for election in 2020.
Montoya-Lewis, 51, has served on the Whatcom County Superior Court bench since 2015. In that role, she also taught implicit-bias training to judicial employees — something she plans to continue to do in an effort to increase awareness and respect for Tribal sovereignty.
“I look forward to serving every citizen of the state of Washington, and in so doing, do justice,” Montoya-Lewis said at a news conference at the Supreme Court last month.
Montoya-Lewis’ stacked resume includes serving as the chief judge of the Nooksack Tribe, Skagit Tribe and Lummi Tribe. She was also formerly a judge for the Northwest Intertribal Court System, and formerly an associate professor for Western Washington University.