A high ranking state official in North Carolina has appointed a Black woman to the state's Supreme Court chief justice, according to Atlanta Black Star.

Gov. Roy Cooper named Associate Justice Cheri Beasley chief justice of the state's highest court on Tuesday. Beasley's appointment is historic as she will become the first Black woman in North Carolina's history to hold that title.

“It is not lost on me — this historic fact — especially since this is Black History Month,” Beasley said at a Feb. 12 news conference. “I know that the work we do is hugely important, but the other thing I think about are the little girls along the way, who ought to have a sense of promise and hope for their futures, and so I hope that in some way my service inspires young people especially, but really I hope it is a show of symbolism for where we are in North Carolina.”

Beasley is replacing Chief Justice Mark Martin, who is stepping down from the position on Feb. 28 to serve as dean of the Regent University School of Law in Virginia. She spent seven years as an associate judge on the North Carolina Court of Appeals and served as a district court judge, per the Atlanta Black Star.

State Republicans blasted the Democratic governor’s decision to appoint Beasley, saying that it was “purely politics.”

“Today Governor Cooper decided to skip over two more experienced justices and elevated a justice with less Supreme Court experience to the open post of Chief Justice,” said Robin Hayes, chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party. “One can only believe the reason Cooper decided to ignore the longstanding, nonpartisan tradition of the Court was purely politics. Cooper’s constant calls to keep our courts free from political interference rings hollow with this decision.”