SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Governor Spencer Cox appointed a new state Supreme Court Justice on Tuesday at the Utah State Capitol.

This announcement comes as multiple court cases including lawsuits against the transgender ban on athletes and the abortion ban are headed to Utah’s highest court to determine whether some of the state’s most controversial laws abide by the state’s constitution. 

Cox’s pick for state Supreme Court Justice is judge Jill M. Pohlman. 

ABC4 asked Judge Pohlman what equality in Utah in terms of women’s rights means to her. 

Pohlman said she couldn’t answer that question directly, but she’s a judge, not a lawyer and says she’ll judge cases based on the law, not her own personal beliefs. 

“If confirmed, I will be committed to work hard every day,” Pohlman said. “I will treat people well and most importantly, I will uphold the rule of law.”

If she’s confirmed by the state senate, for the first time, the state’s five-person court will have three women serving, making women the majority. 

But Cox wants to make one thing clear: “It’s fortuitous, but not predestined,” said Cox. “This was not a choice based on gender at all — period, full stop,” said Cox.

Cox and Chief Supreme Court Justice Matthew Durrant agree Pohlman is the best candidate and the best fit for the Supreme Court.  

“She is precisely the kind of the judge we need in our judiciary, precisely the kind of judge and scholar we need on the Supreme Court,” Durrant said. 

Pohlman characterizes herself as someone who is principled and applies the law equally, even if she doesn’t like the outcome.  

“Those hurt, but I still reach the decision to be reached, but I still think those are sometimes the hardest cases that I have to decide are ones where I don’t like the result, but I’m following the law, that’s what the law dictates,” said Pohlman.

But today, judge Pohlman says her appointment sends a message to her daughters and girls across the state. 

“Gender is not a barrier to getting on the court or to getting in certain positions and we need women’s voices and I think this is just a confirmation that women should serve and women should express their views,” Pohlman said. 

The Utah State Senate still needs to confirm Judge Pohlman before she becomes a member of the court. Cox says that will likely happen sometime in late August.