OF CHIEF JUSTICE MARGARET H. MARSHALL
IN RESPONSE TO THE REPORT OF THE VISITING COMMITTEE
ON MANAGEMENT IN THE COURTS
The Justices and I are deeply grateful to the
members of the Visiting Committee on Management in the Courts for
their extraordinary public service. Under the leadership of J. Donald
Monan, S.J., Chancellor of Boston College, and Vice-Chairs Patricia
McGovern and William C. Van Faasen, the Committee has produced a
carefully documented analysis of management deficiencies in the
Massachusetts courts, and a thoughtful blueprint to achieve managerial
excellence in the future.
Examining a complex state court system with
tangled lines of authority and budgetary incongruities is a daunting
task. Last August I invited eight highly respected leaders from
business, academia, and the legal community to assess current management
practices in the Massachusetts courts and to recommend improvements
to it. The Committee undertook an independent, candid assessment
of our system’s managerial strengths and weaknesses, and has now
produced a report setting forth suggested pathways to implement
When I announced my intention to establish a
wholly independent evaluation of our court management practices,
I said that no question would go unasked, and that every answer
would be made public. Today the Committee’s Report, in its entirety,
with no revisions or deletions, is being made available to the public.
I urge everyone to read it.
The Committee has reaffirmed what many have
long recognized: there are countless committed, talented, and hardworking
individuals in the courts across the Commonwealth who are eager
to embrace change. We applaud the many judges and court employees
who provided valuable information to the Committee. We also thank
the legislators, executive branch officials, bar leaders, attorneys,
and community members, who similarly provided their critical insights
to the Committee.
The Visiting Committee Report offers specific
recommendations to achieve the efficient and timely delivery of
quality justice. These include:
clear lines of authority throughout the judicial
performance standards and evaluations at all levels
of the court system
a rational allocation of resources
improved court facilities, working conditions
the need for management expertise
The Committee recognized the excellence in the
substantive decisions of the Massachusetts Judiciary. We now need
to elevate management in our courts to that same level of excellence.
I know this is a vision shared by leaders of the other two branches
of government. Together, we will achieve this vision.
The Justices and I will review the Report in
detail. In the coming weeks, we plan to consult broadly with judicial
and non-judicial leaders. We will invite comments from all quarters
of the Commonwealth. The Visiting Committee has made clear the urgency
of the challenge. We will begin to implement managerial change as
rapidly as possible.
Finally, I wish to thank the many individuals
and organizations that helped the Visiting Committee, particularly
the consulting firm, McKinsey and Co., for their valuable research
and guidance, provided pro bono to the Visiting Committee, and to
the firm of Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky & Popeo, which did