Administered Oath January 29, 2009
Honorable Ralph D. Gants, Associate Justice, 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, 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 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 Justice Gants to the Supreme Judicial Court in January 2009. Justice Gants has served as co-chair of the Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission since 2010, and has served as the Justice member of the Supreme Judicial Court's Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services since 2011. He chaired the Standing Committee that revised the Model Jury Instructions on Homicide in 2013.
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.