• Photo: Twitter / @CaliforniaDOR

Michigan Native Andi Mudryk First Trans Person Appointed to the Bench in California

The Southfield-Lathrup High School grad brings nearly two decades of disability rights work to role

By |2022-04-01T09:02:26-04:00April 1st, 2022|Michigan, News|

California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Friday that he was appointing Andi Mudryk to the bench. The appointment makes Mudryk, 58, the first trans person to be appointed to the bench in California. Mudryk also becomes the second trans person to serve as judge in California after Victoria Kolakowski became the first openly trans judge in the state when she was elected to the Alameda County Superior Court in 2010.

Kolakowski tweeted her congratulations to Mudryk the day the appointment was announced.

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

Mudryk, for her part, spoke to the Los Angeles Times about her appointment.

“I’m humbled, honored and I’m thrilled,” Mudryk said. “I’m grateful to Gov. Newsom for creating a vision of California for all.”

Mudryk will serve as a judge in Sacramento County Superior Court. Mudryk’s appointment was one of eight Newsom made. He also nominated Fourth District Court of Appeal Justice Patricia Guerrero to be the first Latina associate justice on the California Supreme Court.

Prior to her appointment, Mudryk worked for 11 years with Disability Rights California, serving as managing attorney, director of litigation and deputy director. In addition, Mudryk worked as director of litigation and policy advocacy for Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County and spent a short time as executive director of Disability Rights Advocates. She also joined the California Department of Rehabilitation (CDR) in 2018 as the department’s chief legal counsel. Two years ago, she was promoted to the position of CDR deputy director.

“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 legislatures across the country attack the trans community, we applaud Gov. Newsom’s continued commitment to increasing trans representation across appointments and on the bench.”

Mudryk, who was born with osteogenesis imperfecta, also known as brittle bone disease, credits her experience as a trans woman, a person with a disability, the parent of a Black man and the descendant of Holocaust survivors as motivating her to work toward advancing civil rights.

Prior to her work in California, Mudryk, who received her law degree from George Washington University Law School, lived in Michigan. She graduated from Southfield-Lathrup High School before attending college and law school, and then went into private practice in Ann Arbor. While still in Michigan, Mudryk was involved in an LGBTQ+ Jewish group called Simcha. She also helped put together the Michigan contingency for the 1993 March on Washington for gay rights. 

Jay Kaplan, staff attorney for the ACLU of Michigan’s LGBTQ Project, knew Mudryk casually from when she lived here and said he’s “so thrilled” for her. 

The first openly transgender judge in [appointed in] California,” Kaplan told Pride Source. “This is something to celebrate!”

About the Author:

Jason A. Michael
Jason A. Michael joined Between The Lines as a contributing writer in 1999. He has received both the Spirit of Detroit Award (presented by the Detroit City Council) and the Media Award from the Community Pride Banquet & Awards Ceremony for his writing and activism. Jason is also an Essence magazine bestselling author for his authorized biography "Strength Of A Woman: The Phyllis Hyman Story," released on his own JAM Books imprint.