Governor Charles D. Baker Administers Ceremonial Oath of Office to The Honorable Scott L. Kafker of the Massachusetts Appeals Court
BOSTON, MA -- Governor Charles D. Baker today administered the ceremonial Oath of Office to the Honorable Scott L. Kafker, the sixth Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Appeals Court, before an assembly of several hundred people in the Great Hall of the John Adams Courthouse.
"I’m honored that Chief Justice Kafker’s appointment was the first of my administration and believe he is well-suited to uphold the legacy and independence of the court," said Governor Baker. "Under his leadership, I am confident the Appeals Court will be an essential partner in our work to ensure state government and the courts serve all residents equally before the law."
Supreme Judicial Court Justice Robert J. Cordy delivered opening remarks and served as Master of Ceremonies. Lieutenant Governor Karyn E. Polito and Governor Baker delivered keynote remarks, after which Governor Baker administered the ceremonial Oath of Office.
"I believe that a Chief Justice must wake up every morning committed to making a difference in the lives of the people of the Commonwealth," Chief Justice Kafker said, in remarks following his ceremonial swearing in. "The Chief Justice must be the court’s conscience in terms of constantly comparing its overall performance with its ideals, as the chief is entrusted with the responsibility of being the daily guardian of the Court’s administration of justice in the public interest."
Appeals Court Justice Elspeth B. Cypher and Serena Kafker, Esq., Chief Justice Kafker's mother, were also guest speakers at the ceremony.
Chief Justice Kafker graduated from Amherst College in 1981 and from the University of Chicago Law School in 1985, where he was on the Law Review. After law school, he served as a law clerk to Justice Charles L. Levin of the Michigan Supreme Court, then as a law clerk to Judge Mark L. Wolf of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts. In 1987, he joined the Boston law firm of Foley, Hoag & Eliot as an associate. From 1991 to 1993, Chief Justice Kafker was deputy chief legal counsel to Governor William F. Weld. In 1993, he was named chief legal counsel for the Massachusetts Port Authority. He was appointed to the Appeals Court by Governor Paul Cellucci and joined the Court on March 7, 2001.
Chief Justice Kafker has taught state constitutional law at Boston College Law School since 2009. He has also served on the Visiting Committee of the University of Chicago Law School. He is the author of book reviews, comments and articles appearing in the University of Chicago Law Review, the Labor Lawyer, the Washington and Lee Law Review, the Michigan State Law Review, the New England Law Review, and the Rutgers Law Journal. He serves on the Supreme Judicial Court Advisory Committee on the Rules of Civil and Appellate Procedure. He is also a member of the American Law Institute and a trustee of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
The Appeals Court is a court of general appellate jurisdiction and has twenty-five statutory justices, including the chief justice. The court decides between 1,400 and 1,700 cases a year. The justices, who sit in panels of three, review decisions made by Trial Court judges in the seven court departments. In addition to its panel jurisdiction, the Appeals Court runs a continuous single justice session, with a separate docket.