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Goings and Comings at Mass. SJC

Yesterday was the last day on the bench for Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Justice John Greaney, who stepped down just four months shy of the state's mandatory retirement age of 70. After more than three decades as a judge, he is joining the Suffolk University Law School faculty and will serve as director of the Macaronis Institute for Trial and Appellate Advocacy housed at Suffolk.

Justice Greaney was highly regarded within the state's legal community. He started as a Housing Court judge in 1974, was named to the Appeals Court in 1976 and then to the SJC in 1989. A recent Associated Press profile notes that a passage from his concurrence in the court's decision to legalize gay marriage is often used by gay couples in their wedding ceremonies. I have had the honor of serving with him on the SJC's Judiciary-Media Committee, which he co-chaired.

Meanwhile, Massachusetts Gov. Deval L. Patrick yesterday nominated Ralph D. Gants, 54, to fill Greaney's vacant seat on the SJC. Gants is a Superior Court judge who sits as administrative justice for the court's Business Litigation Section. He is a former federal prosecutor with the U.S. Attorney's Office in Boston and was chief of the office's Public Corruption Division. He is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School.

The Boston Globe says that the nomination of Gants is likely to raise little controversy. That is somewhat of an understatement, given that Gants is highly regarded as a judge. "He is frightfully smart and frightfully hard-working," civil liberties lawyer Harvey Silverglate told the Globe, while Lee Gesmer at Mass Law Blog wrote, "This is a great nomination -- Judge Gants is truly a superstar of the Massachusetts Superior Court -- without question one of the best, if not the best, minds on the state trial court."

If confirmed, Gants would be Patrick's second appointment to the SJC, after Justice Margot G. Botsford.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on December 2, 2008 at 11:32 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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