- The Democrat announced her election to the highest court on Wednesday
- The two began dating in 2013, when Haley was running for Attorney General.
- They were no longer together when she became governor in 2022.
Massachusetts Democratic Gov. Maura Healey nominated her ex-girlfriend for a seat on the state Supreme Court, sparking a backlash from critics.
The lawmaker announced her pick for the highest court on Wednesday: Massachusetts Court of Appeals Associate Justice Gabrielle Wolohojian, her former partner of several years.
The two began dating publicly in 2013, when Haley was running for Attorney General. They had split when she became governor in 2022, but apparently remain friendly.
“It is highly inappropriate for the Governor to nominate to Massachusetts’ highest court an individual with whom he had a long-term romantic relationship in the past,” state Republican Party Chairwoman Amy Carnevale told CBS News. “This nomination clearly demonstrates a lack of accountability inherent in single-party government.”
The Boston GlobeThe liberal editorial board also disapproved of the governor’s choice, accusing Haley of poor judgment and saying her decision to nominate her ex represents “simply horrible optics.”
Healey appears with his long-term partner, Gabrielle Wolohojian, in an undated image.
Wolohojian and Haley began dating publicly in 2013, but broke up in 2022.
While noting that Wolohojian is qualified for the position, The Globe notes that Haley also nominated someone in her inner circle, Bessie Dewar, to the highest court in December after selecting him as an attorney when she was Attorney General.
Critics have suggested that Healy’s appointments could give the impression that he wants his hired lawyers to make decisions that align with his own politics.
Despite the outrage, Haley defended her selection last week, saying she was proud of Wolohojian’s nomination and that the judge had the unanimous support of the Judicial Nominating Commission.
‘There is no one more qualified. “I feel very comfortable saying that… Of course, I had a personal relationship with Judge Wolohojian for many years, so I happen to also know something about his character, integrity and the kind of person he is,” Healey said.
“I don’t want the fact that she had a personal relationship with me to deprive the Commonwealth of the most qualified person for the job.”
Wolohojian, whose nomination is expected to be confirmed, will have to decide if and when he will recuse himself in cases involving Haley and her office.
The Globe editorial board wrote: “None of us need to know the circumstances of Healey and Wolohojian’s breakup, but it’s hard to believe to imagine that the judge doesn’t have any ‘personal bias,’ positive or negative, toward her ex.”
Maura Healey, 51, became the first openly lesbian governor elected in the United States on Tuesday night.
The Governor’s Council, an eight-member elected body charged with approving judicial appointments, will hold a hearing for Wolohojian’s nomination on Feb. 21.
Haley will become the country’s first openly lesbian governor in 2022 and is currently in a relationship with Joanna Lydgate.
She took the seat from his eight-year Republican government, handily defeating Geoff Diehl.
Healey was elected along with her candidate for lieutenant governor, Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll. Together, they became the first all-female team to serve as governor and lieutenant governor.