Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants was appointed as an Associate Justice of the Superior Court in 1997 by Governor William Weld. In 2008, he served as Administrative Justice of the Superior Court's Business Litigation Session. He chaired the Superior Court Rules Committee, and was a member of the Supreme Judicial Court's Standing Advisory Committee on the Rules of Civil Procedure and its Ad Hoc Advisory Committee to Study Canon 3B(9) of the Code of Judicial Conduct.
Governor Deval Patrick appointed him to the Supreme Judicial Court in January 2009 as an Associate Justice. In 2014, he was appointed the thirty-seventh Chief Justice by Governor Patrick and was sworn in on July 28. Chief Justice Gants served as co-chair of the Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission from 2010 to 2015, and chaired the Standing Committee that revised the Model Jury Instructions on Homicide in 2013.
Chief Justice Gants was born in New Rochelle, New York in 1954. He received his B.A. from Harvard College in 1976, graduating summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. The following year he completed a Diploma in Criminology at Cambridge University in England. In 1980, he earned a J.D. degree, magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School where he was note editor of the Harvard Law Review. After graduation from law school, Chief Justice Gants served as Law Clerk to United States District Court Judge Eugene H. Nickerson. From 1981 to 1983, he was Special Assistant to Judge William H. Webster, Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In 1983, he was appointed Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts, serving as Chief of the Public Corruption Division from 1988 to 1991. In 1991, he joined the Boston law firm formerly known as Palmer & Dodge LLP, becoming a partner in 1994.
He has taught courses in Advanced Criminal Procedure, Balancing Liberty and Security, White Collar Prosecution and Defense, Civil Trial Practice, and Civil Motions Practice at Harvard Law School, New England School of Law, and Northeastern University School of Law. In 2012, he was awarded the Boston Bar Association Citation of Judicial Excellence and the Suffolk Law School Public Service Award. He is married with two children.