Sen. Erin Lynch Prata, chairwoman of the Rhode Island Senate Judiciary Committee, is applying for a pending vacancy on the state Supreme Court and seeking a related advisory opinion from the Ethics Commission.

“As a sitting State Senator, serving as the Chairperson of the Judiciary Committee, I appreciate that my application for a prospective judicial vacancy may cause others to question whether a sitting Senator may apply for a prospective Supreme Court vacancy without violating the Rhode Island Code of Ethics,” Lynch Prata writes in her four-page letter to Jason Gramitt, executive director of the Ethics Commission.

Lynch Prata is serving her sixth term as a Democrat representing Warwick,

She played a key role in rallying support for a law passed last year to guarantee abortion-rights in Rhode Island.

In a statement, the Warwick Democrat said she had always hoped to serve as a judge, and that she will not seek re-election regardless of what happens with her interest in the Supreme Court.

Lynch Prata said she believes “this is the time for me to give back to the community in a new way and, as a result, I will be concluding my 12 years in the Senate at the end of this year. I have been honored and so grateful to have had the opportunity to serve the people of Warwick and the State of Rhode Island and to work with such a committed group of elected colleagues and staff.”

Rhode Island’s Supreme Court has a pending vacancy since Justice Gilbert Indeglia plans to step down this year.

Senate President Dominick Ruggerio is a strong supporter of Lynch Prata.

 “Erin Lynch Prata is a truly exceptional public servant who has served the state and the Senate with extraordinary integrity and distinction. As Judiciary Committee vhairwoman, she led deliberations on complex and often emotionally charged issues with wisdom, grace and compassion," Ruggerio said. "Her leadership was indispensable and she spent countless hours addressing some of the most daunting challenges our chamber has ever faced. I appreciate how fortunate I have been to have her as a member of the Senate’s leadership team, and I know she would make a similarly invaluable contribution on the bench. Should she win the recommendation of the Judicial Nominating Commission and the Governor, our state would be fortunate to have a jurist of such exceptional ability and character. I wish her the best in this pursuit.”

The deadline for applications to the state Judicial Nominating Commission is at the end of this month.

Based on her reading of the state Constitution, Lynch Prata writes, the state’s so-called revolving door law does not apply to a constitutional court such as the Supreme Court.

The Brennan Center at New York University recently noted that the Rhode Island Supreme Court has never had a justice of color, and has not had a woman appointed in more than 20 years. The only woman on the panel, Justice Maureen McKenna Goldberg, was appointed in 1997.

Asked by The Public’s Radio whether she will commit to nominating a person of color, Gov. Gina Raimondo said she would not, although she said she has a strong record of promoting a more diverse judiciary.

Kendra Anderson, whose plans to run as a Democrat for the seat held by Lynch Prata were first reported by The Public’s Radio, offered this reaction on Twitter to the incumbent’s announcement: “Wow my day sure took a 180... #surprisesurprise #lifeisstrange #politicstoday #payingattention #newsmakersclue #patience”