1st transgender judge appointed to bench in California

Andi Mudryk Transgender Judge

Andi Mudryk is the first openly transgender judge appointed to the judicial bench in California. She will serve in Sacramento County Superior Court. Photo: Office of Gov. Gavin Newsom

Andi Mudryk is the first openly transgender judge appointed to the bench in California.

She will serve in Sacramento County Superior Court.

Mudryk’s appointment was announced Friday by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Mudryk, 58, has served as chief deputy director at the California Department of Rehabilitation since 2020, where she served as chief counsel from 2018 to 2020.

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Mudryk’s appointment was applauded by LGBTQ+ and legal communities.

“A seasoned civil rights advocate, Mudryk Brings almost 20 years of experience in disability rights and rehabilitation to the court,” Tony Hoang, executive director of Equality California, said in a statement. “As governors and state legislators across the country attack the trans community, we applaud Gov. Newsom’s continued commitment to increasing trans representation across appointments and on the bench.”

Victoria Kolakowski became the state’s first transgender judge when she was elected to Alameda County Superior Court in November 2010, according to Equality California.

Kolakowski congratulated Mudryk in a tweet Friday.

“Andi Mudryk is a great appointment and will be a wonderful judge,” she said. “I’m glad to finally have a trans colleague on the bench in California.”

Leah Wilson, executive director of the State Bar of California, said in a statement that “Superior Court Judge Andi Mudryk’s appointment is a touchstone moment in California history that will lead to more opportunities for transgender people throught the legal profession.”

Born with osteogenesis imperfecta, commonly known as brittle bone disease, Mudryk spent half of her legal career in private practice, including approximately 11 years with Disability Rights California, where she served as managing attorney, director of litigation, and deputy director.

She also served as director of litigation and policy advocacy at Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County from 2017 to 2018 and executive director of Disability Rights Advocates in 2017, Newsom’s office said in the announcement.

Mudryk also served as director of litigation and advocacy at the Arizona Center for Disability Law from 2002 to 2006.

She earned a Juris Doctor degree from George Washington University Law School.

Mudryk fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Benjamin G. Davidian.

About the author

Phillip Zonkel

Award-winning journalist Phillip Zonkel spent 17 years at Long Beach's Press-Telegram, where he was the first reporter in the paper's history to have a beat covering the city's vibrant LGBTQ. He also created and ran the popular and innovative LGBTQ news blog, Out in the 562.

He won two awards and received a nomination for his reporting on the local LGBTQ community, including a two-part investigation that exposed anti-gay bullying of local high school students and the school districts' failure to implement state mandated protections for LGBTQ students.

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