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Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Washington

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, October 17, 2014

Washington Supreme Court Justice Mary Yu Speaks to U.S. Attorney’s Office

In recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month, Washington Supreme Court Justice Mary Yu spoke to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington about her groundbreaking career in the law.  Justice Yu is of Hispanic and Asian heritage and is the first openly gay member of the Washington State Supreme Court.  Justice Yu’s father was an immigrant from China, her mother was from Mexico.  She is also the first Latina Justice and Justice of Asian heritage.

Justice Yu talked about her childhood in Chicago, and described her decision to pursue a legal career as a way to bring positive change in the community, especially for those who are disadvantaged.  Justice Yu described the sense of history she feels in the Supreme Court chambers and talked about the importance of remembering that the parties in the cases are real people, not just names on papers filed with the court.

Justice Yu was appointed by Governor Jay Inslee on May 1, 2014.  Justice Yu joined the Supreme Court after more than 14 years as an accomplished trial court judge in King County Superior Court where she heard a wide variety of criminal and civil cases and presided over hundreds of adoptions and other family law matters.

 Justice Yu has a deep record of service both on and off the bench, mentoring young attorneys, law clerks and students, co-chairing the statewide Minority and Justice Commission, lecturing at Seattle University, helping lead the bar association’s leadership institute for young attorneys, and serving on the board of FareStart and the advisory board for the University of Washington School of Law’s Gates Public Service Program.  She has officiated hundreds of weddings and adoptions, including our state’s first same-sex weddings on the first day couples of the same-sex could legally marry in our state.

Before becoming a judge, Justice Yu served as Deputy Chief of Staff to King County Prosecutor Norm Maleng and as a deputy in the Criminal and Civil Divisions. Prior to attending law school, Justice Yu worked in the Peace and Justice Office for the Archdiocese of Chicago as staff and later appointed by Cardinal Bernardin as Director of that Office.

Justice Mary Yu was raised in Bridgeport (a south side neighborhood in Chicago). She is the first in her family to graduate from college.

Updated March 20, 2015