AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. Janet Mills announced a Kennebunk lawyer and a Cumberland County lower-court judge as the first nominees to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court in her year-long tenure.
Justice Andrew M. Horton, who currently serves as a Superior Court justice based in Cumberland County, and Catherine Connors, a private practice lawyer at the firm Pierce Atwood, will face confirmation in the Democratic-led Maine Senate.
Horton, a graduate of Georgetown Law School, was appointed to his current position by former Gov. John Baldacci. He previously served as a District Court judge. Connors, a graduate of Northwestern University’s law school, has argued cases in front of the high court.
Connors also filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in support of striking down the Defense of Marriage Act. Her appointment is a break from tradition on the high court. The seven people who comprise it all served as lower-court judges before being elevated to their posts. If confirmed, Connors will be the only justice who came directly from the private sector.
The nominations are Mills’ first to the high court. She accompanied them with two other nominations to the Superior Court — District Court Judge Stephen Nelson of Houlton and Thomas McKeon, a private attorney from Falmouth.
“With vast experience, sharp intellect, and measured temperament, these nominees are of the highest caliber,” the Democratic governor said in a statement.
Connors and Horton are nominated to succeed Justices Jeffrey Hjelm and Donald Alexander, both of whom are retiring. Hjelm was nominated to the high court by former Gov. Paul LePage in 2014, while Alexander was nominated by Angus King in 1998. Justices are appointed for seven-year terms, though there is no limit on the number of terms they can serve.