Meet Washington’s First Native American Jewish Supreme Court Justice, Raquel Montoya-Lewis
The state of Washington has sworn in their first Native American Supreme Court Justice, Raquel Montoya-Lewis. And guess what? She’s also Jewish!
Governor Jay Inslee appointed Montoya-Lewis, 51, to serve on Washington’s highest court. While it is newsworthy she’s the first Native American to be sworn in, as Montoya-Lewis herself said, “The most important thing is that I not be the last.”
Montoya-Lewis is only the second Native American person to serve on any state supreme court, ever. Her appointment was to fill a vacant seat, and runs through this fall, when she will be on the November 2020 ballot.
Montoya-Lewis is an enrolled member of the Pueblo of Isleta Indian tribe, and a descendant of the Pueblo of Laguna Indian tribe through her father. Her mother is Jewish. She was born in Spain in 1968, where her father was stationed as he served in the U.S. Air Force. She attended University of New Mexico for undergrad, then University of Washington for law school. After getting her law degree in 1995, she went on to receive a master’s in social work. Why? According to the Spokesman-Review, “She wanted to blend her legal training with an understanding of how the law affects people.”