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California governor appoints lesbian to Superior Court

OAKLAND, Calif. – Gov. Jerry Brown has appointed a lesbian to serve on the Superior Court bench in Alameda County.

Berkeley attorney Kim Colwell, 54, was selected Thursday and becomes the first lesbian named to serve on the Alameda County Superior Court.

Colwell, however, is not the first LGBT judge in that court; Brown appointed Victoria Kolakowski to the Superior Court in 2010, making her the first transgender judge in the nation. Not only that, but Oakland attorney Tara Flanagan, who is a lesbian, was elected in June for a term that will begin in January.

“It matters because gay people are underrepresented on the bench,” Colwell told the Bay Area media. “It’s important to have everybody on the bench because the court belongs to everybody. You want to be judged by your peers or people who understand you.”

Colwell is a graduate of UC Hastings law school.

Gov. Brown has a history of appointing judges who represent the diversity of the Golden State, beginning in 1979 when he named Stephen Lachs of Los Angeles to the bench. Lachs made history as the first openly gay judge in the United States.