Justice Julia Lipez presides over an attempted murder trial at Oxford County Superior Court in 2022. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

A Maine judge has been selected to join a federal appeals court in Boston.

Superior Court Justice Julia Lipez has been nominated by President Biden to join the First Circuit Court of Appeals, which hears cases from Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Puerto Rico and Rhode Island. The U.S. Senate would have to confirm the nomination.

Her father, Kermit V. Lipez, has also been serving on the First Circuit court.

Lipez, who works at the Capitol Judicial Center in Augusta, became a superior court justice in 2022. Before that, she was a prosecutor with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maine, where she oversaw appeals cases for her last three years.

She also practiced private law at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP in New York for a few years before that and clerked for a federal appeals judge in New York in 2006, after receiving her J.D. from Stanford Law School.

Her nomination comes a day after the Senate Judiciary Committee held a confirmation hearing for Stacey Neumann, a Portland attorney who Biden nominated last month to serve as a U.S. District Court judge in Maine.


“These choices also continue to fulfill the President’s promise to ensure that the nation’s courts reflect the diversity that is one of our greatest assets as a country – both in terms of personal and professional backgrounds,” the administration said in a statement.

A White House spokesperson said they were unable to share any materials submitted for Lipez’s nomination Thursday. But in her December 2021 application for the Superior Court, Lipez told Gov. Janet Mills she was a “born and raised” Mainer who returned home in 2011 after law school and some time in a private firm to work for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

“I believe that a judge is obligated to faithfully apply the law even if she may have a personal disagreement with it, and I would abide by that obligation,” Lipez wrote at the time.

As a prosecutor, Lipez said that she had developed expertise in prosecuting adult and child sex trafficking cases. One of her most significant cases involved the exploitation of victims’ opioid addictions where the defendant pleaded guilty to two counts of sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion.

She also wrote that she was the lead prosecutor in a case against William Minor, who twice appealed his conviction for possession of a firearm that he was barred from owning because of a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction. She said the case had “significant implications” for the Department of Justice’s ability to prosecute such crimes.

In the 2021 application, Lipez said that she believed in the public and the press’ rights access to court proceedings, except for the shielding of jurors’ names or some victims from public view. She wrote that Maine’s justice system could be improved by evaluating the state’s work under the Sixth Amendment, which ensures that low-income Mainers receive legal representation at the state’s expense.

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