Maine Gov. Janet Mills (D) appointed Valerie Stanfill to fill a vacancy on the Maine Supreme Judicial Court on May 10. The seat became vacant when former Chief Justice Leigh Saufley retired on April 14, 2020, to become dean of the University of Maine School of Law.
Under Maine law, Stanfill requires confirmation by the Maine State Senate in order to become a justice on the state’s highest court.
Stanfill has served on the Maine Superior Court since February 2020. She served as a judge on the Maine District Court from January 2007 to February 2020. Prior to joining the bench, Stanfill’s career experience included working as an acting director with the Cumberland Legal Aid Clinic, as a visiting clinical professor of law with the University of Maine School of Law, and as an attorney in private practice.
Stanfill earned a bachelor’s degree from Bryn Mawr College and a J.D. from the University of Maine School of Law.
If confirmed, Stanfill will join the other six justices on the seven-member court:
- Catherine Connors – appointed by Gov. Janet Mills in 2020
- Ellen Gorman – appointed by Gov. John Baldacci (D) in 2007
- Andrew Horton – appointed by Gov. Mills in 2020
- Thomas Humphrey – appointed by Gov. Paul LePage (R) in 2015
- Joseph Jabar – appointed by Gov. Baldacci in 2009
- Andrew Mead – appointed by Gov. Baldacci in 2007
In 2020, there were 23 supreme court vacancies in 16 of the 29 states where replacement justices are appointed instead of elected. So far in 2021, there have been 11 supreme court vacancies in nine of those 29 states.