One of eight new California judges is the first openly transgender person to be appointed to the Golden State bench, officials said.
Andi Mudryk, 58, will serve as a Sacramento County Superior Court judge, filling the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Benjamin Davidian, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office said Friday as it announced a batch of appointments and judicial appointments.
“I’m humbled, honored and thrilled,” Mudryk told The Times on Friday. “I am grateful to Governor Newsom for creating a vision of California for all.”
Mudryk has lived in Sacramento since 2009 and said she feels proud to serve the community.
She is committed to using her experiences to ensure that everyone who comes before her is welcome in the justice system.
Mudryk said her experiences as a transgender woman, a person with a significant disability, a parent of an adult black man, and a descendant of Jewish Holocaust survivors spurred a legal career spent advocating for the civil rights of all.
Born with osteogenesis imperfecta, commonly known as brittle bone disease, she said she suffered more than 100 fractures in her lifetime.
Mudryk said she was proud to be transgender, having transitioned over the past four years, and been accepted and promoted under Newsom’s administration.
She spent the first half of her legal career in private practice, including nearly 11 years at Disability Rights California, where she served as general counsel, director of litigation and deputy director.
She also served as director of litigation and policy advocacy at Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County from 2017 to 2018 and executive director at Disability Rights Advocates in 2017, Newsom’s office said.
In 2018, Mudryk joined the California Department of Rehabilitation, becoming its chief attorney until 2020, when she was promoted to chief deputy director of the department, her most recent position, according to the governor’s office. . She was also Director of Litigation and Advocacy at the Arizona Center for Disability Law from 2002 to 2006.
Mudryk received his law degree from George Washington University Law School in 1989.
His nomination drew praise from the legal and LGBTQ communities.
“The values of diversity, equity and inclusion are fundamental to the mission of the State Bar, and I thank our Judicial Candidate Evaluation Commission for its important work, and I applaud Governor Newsom for her commitment to a diverse justice system,” Leah Wilson, executive director of the California State Bar, said in a statement. “The nomination of Superior Court Judge Andi Mudryk is a watershed moment in California history that will lead to more opportunities for transgender people across the legal profession.”
Mudryk will become the second openly transgender judge in California, according to Equality California, the largest statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization.
“A seasoned civil rights defender, Mudryk brings nearly 20 years of disability rights and rehabilitation experience to the court,” said Tony Hoang, executive director of Equality California. “As state governors and legislatures across the country attack the trans community, we applaud Governor Newsom’s continued commitment to increasing trans representation in nominations and on the bench.”
Victoria Kolakowski became the state’s first openly transgender judge when she was elected to the Alameda County Superior Court in November 2010, according to Equality California.
Kolakowski congratulated Mudryk in a tweet on Friday.
“Andi Mudryk is a great date and will be a wonderful judge,” Kolakowski wrote. “I’m happy to finally have a trans colleague on the bench in California.”
The California Judges Association. also welcomed the appointment.
“The historic selection of the first openly transgender person on the bench represents an important step in ensuring our justice system reflects the diverse communities it serves,” said Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Rupert Byrdsong. also president of the association.
“As CJA embraces its commitment to diversity and inclusion, we applaud Governor Newsom’s wisdom in selecting Ms. Mudryk – an exemplary and well-qualified candidate,” Byrdsong said.
Los Angeles Times