Judge Cate was born on October 17, 1960 in the Philippines. Born into a military family, Judge Cate had the opportunity to live in various military locations; however, she considers Goose Creek, South Carolina as her hometown as she was primarily raised there. She graduated salutatorian from Goose Creek High School in 1979 and graduated magna cum laude from the University of South Carolina in 1983 with a major in English Literature. During her undergraduate studies at USC, she was installed as a Phi Beta Kappa member and the received the J. Gordon Belser award. After graduation, Judge Cate entered the USC School of Law and received her juris doctorate degree in 1986.
Judge Cate began her legal career with the Ninth Judicial Circuit Solicitor’s Office, specifically in the Berkeley County Office handling family court matters. She left the Solicitor’s Office to become the judicial law clerk to the Honorable Lawrence E. Richter, Jr. After her tenure with Judge Richter, Judge Cate became an associate with the law firm of Watson, Tiencken & West in Moncks Corner. She later became an associate with the Richter Firm, P.A. and then partner and shareholder with the firm of Richter & Cate, P.A. in Charleston. Judge Cate left the firm and began a solo practice primarily in family law. She later left private practice and returned to the Ninth Judicial Solicitor’s Office to be in charge of juvenile prosecution in Berkeley County. Judge Cate has also taught at Limestone College and Webster University as an adjunct professor. Judge Cate is a member of various legal and civic organizations.
On February, 2002, Judge Cate was elected by the General Assembly to fill the unexpired term of the Honorable Deadra L. Jefferson. She also is serving her own six year term as family court judge.