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Is SJC Nominee in Trouble?

That is the question media writer Dan Kennedy asks at his blog Media Nation about Margot Botsford, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick's nominee for a seat on the state's highest court, the Supreme Judicial Court. I, for one, don't think so. Botsford, currently a judge on the state's Superior Court, is highly regarded among lawyers in Massachusetts and has an impressive record of achievements to support her.

The question arises because, one day after Gov. Patrick nominated Botsford, the Boston Herald reported that her husband, lawyer S. Stephen Rosenfeld, last year donated three times the legal limit to Patrick's campaign fund. Rosenfeld is also well known within the state's legal community and was chief of staff and legal counsel to former Massachusetts Gov. Michael S. Dukakis. This news led blogger Kennedy to comment:

"Botsford is well-qualified and progressive, but this has the aroma of a quid pro quo. You could argue that she's not responsible for her husband's political donations, but come on. As a judge, she can't make political donations anyway. (Or at least she shouldn't.) And why didn't someone at the Patrick campaign flag the excess donations and return them?"

From the state's legal community, support for Botsford's nomination is strong. Massachusetts Bar Association President Mark D. Mason issued a statement in which he said:

"Botsford’s keen intellect and extraordinary abilities as a jurist enhance the outstanding reputation of our state's highest court. She is highly regarded and respected amongst jurists and attorneys throughout the commonwealth."

The president of the Boston Bar Association, Jack Cinquegrana, had like praise:

"[Botsford] is a true scholar of the law and a noble public servant who is universally admired for her brilliance, her extraordinary work ethic, and her commitment to justice."

My prediction is that her nomination will -- and should -- sail through.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on July 30, 2007 at 04:02 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)


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