Director of Communications
National Center for State Courts
Williamsburg, Va., Feb. 12, 2019 – Puerto Rico Chief Justice Maite D. Oronoz-Rodriguez is the recipient of the National Center for State Courts' (NCSC) 2018 Distinguished Service Award, presented annually to those who have made significant contributions to the justice system and who have supported the mission of NCSC. She will be presented the award during the Conference of Chief Justices’ midyear meeting in Clearwater, Florida.
Chief Justice Oronoz Rodriguez, the first openly LGBT Chief Justice in United States history, the third female and the youngest person ever to preside over the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico, is recognized for her leadership in overseeing the restoration of court services following last year’s hurricanes.
She became associate justice of the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico in 2014 and in 2016 was appointed chief justice. As a lawyer, she worked in private practice, served as deputy solicitor general and acting solicitor general of Puerto Rico and as general counsel for San Juan. During her time as chief justice, she has modernized the judicial system by implementing technological initiatives such as the expansion of electronic filing throughout the island and videoconferencing, to make courts more efficient and accessible to all.
Her reputation for being energetic and devoted to public service helped her deal with the devastating effects of hurricanes Irma and Maria, considered the most destructive storms in the island’s history. She demonstrated great leadership in the immediate aftermath of those storms to provide accessible courts during the emergency, and that leadership continues as Puerto Rico rebuilds and recovers.
NCSC presents a handful of Distinguished Service awards annually to those who have made significant contributions to the court system and to the work of the NCSC. The awards recognize one person from each of the following categories: current or former state appellate judge; current of former state trial judge; state-level court administrator or employee; trial-level court administrator or employee; attorney or other individual not employed by the courts; and current or former international judge or court executive.
The National Center for State Courts, headquartered in Williamsburg, Va., is a nonprofit court organization dedicated to improving the administration of justice by providing leadership and service to the state courts. Founded in 1971 by the Conference of Chief Justices and Chief Justice of the United States Warren E. Burger, NCSC provides education, training, technology, management, and research services to the nation’s state courts.
National Center for State Courts, 300 Newport Avenue, Williamsburg, VA 23185-4147