Lawmaker will retire, seek Supreme Court seat

Sen. Erin Lynch Prata (D-Warwick) announced April 28 she would not run for reelection after 12 years and would seek a seat on the state Supreme Court. File photo by Steve Klamkin WPRO News

By Steve Klamkin WPRO News

A Warwick Democrat becomes the first member since the coronavirus pandemic forced suspension of the General Assembly to announce that she will not seek reelection when her term expires at the end of this year.

Erin Lynch Prata, who played a key role as Chairwoman of the Senate Judiciary Committee during last year’s debate over abortion rights legislation, said she will conclude her 12 years in the Senate at the end of the year, and will seek a seat on the State Supreme Court.

Prata said she is asking the Rhode Island Ethics Commission for an advisory opinion regarding her application for the prospective vacancy on the court, when Justice Gilbert Indeglia retires this year.

The state’s “revolving door” law precludes legislators and others in government from taking another state position within one year after leaving state service.

“I believe my application is clearly within the parameters of the law, as any individual may apply at any time for an open Constitutional office,” she said in a statement.

“I am committed to serving the law and my community and have always hoped to serve as a member of the judiciary. I am excited to submit my application today and look forward to going through this extensive process.”

Before the revolving door law, members of House and Senate met in a joint “Grand Committee” to fill Supreme Court vacancies, a role now given to the Governor.

Asked today whether she would appoint a person of color to fill Indeglia’s seat, Raimondo said, “I will look at a person of any race, any gender, I pick from a list.” The list is prepared by applicants screened by the Judicial Nominating Committee.