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Committee Unanimously Endorses Stanfill For Chief Justice

Ashley L. Conti
Judge Valerie Stanfill listens to the defense during the hearing on April 11, 2017 on a motion to spare the life of Dakota the dog, who was pardoned by then-Gov. LePage, in Waterville District Court.

The Legislature’s Judiciary committee Tuesday gave its unanimous recommendation for Superior Court Justice Valerie Stanfill to serve as Chief Justice of the Maine Supreme Court.

After 15 years as a trial lawyer, Stanfill has spent another 15 years on the bench, first as a District Court Judge and currently as a Superior Court Justice. At her confirmation hearing Tuesday, she told lawmakers that she has always tried to be fair and compassionate in the cases she has presided over.

“Put simply, I just love being a judge. I am now in my fifteenth year and I am so grateful every day for the opportunity to serve the people of Maine,” Stanfill said.

Stanfill drew praise from several professional groups, including the Maine State Bar Association and the Maine Trial Lawyers Association. She also was endorsed by former Chief Justice Leigh Saufley who now serves as Dean of the University of Maine School of Law. She fielded questions from committee members ranging from her judicial philosophy to how she would handle the backlog of cases caused by the pandemic. The Senate could consider her nomination this week.

“Socrates said four things belong to a judge. To hear courteously. To answer wisely. To consider soberly and to decide impartially. I try to live up to those ideals every day,” Stanfill said.

Journalist Mal Leary spearheads Maine Public's news coverage of politics and government and is based at the State House.