OLYMPIA (AP) -- Gov. Chris Gregoire has appointed King County Superior Court Judge Steven Gonzalez to the state Supreme Court.
Gonzalez replaces Justice Gerry Alexander, who retires at the end of the year due to mandatory retirement laws.
Gonzalez will be only the second justice of Hispanic heritage to serve on the state's high court, said court spokeswoman Wendy Ferrell. Charles Z. Smith, who was the state's first ethnic minority on the court, was appointed in 1988 and served until 2002, when he stepped down after reaching the mandatory retirement age of 75. Smith is an African-American of Cuban descent.
Gonzalez was appointed to the King County Superior Court in March 2002, and was elected by voters later that same year. He was re-elected in 2004 and 2008.