GOVERNOR PATRICK ANNOUNCES NOMINATION OF ESTEEMED JURIST AS CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE MASSACHUSETTS SUPREME JUDICIAL COURT
BOSTON - Thursday, November 4, 2010 - Governor Deval Patrick today announced the nomination of Senior Associate Justice Roderick L. Ireland to serve as Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. Justice Ireland, a highly regarded Associate Justice of the SJC and former Appeals Court and Juvenile Court judge, is slated to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall. If confirmed, Justice Ireland will be the first African American and person of color to serve as Chief Justice of the SJC.
"Justice Ireland is one of Massachusetts' wisest and most experienced jurists and there is no one better suited to lead the Court and the judicial branch at this unique moment in our history," said Governor Patrick. "I am convinced Justice Ireland will move the Supreme Judicial Court forward in the same proud tradition as his predecessor Chief Justice Marshall."
Justice Ireland has served the Commonwealth as a member of the judiciary for over three decades, beginning with his 1977 appointment to the Boston Juvenile Court. After thirteen years on the Juvenile Court, he became an Associate Justice of the Appeals Court in 1990. In 1997, Governor William F. Weld nominated him to the Supreme Judicial Court, where he became the first African American to serve that distinguished court in its more than 300 year history.
Justice Ireland's extensive legal career prior to joining the bench includes experience as a legal services staff attorney in New York City, a staff attorney for the Harvard Center for Law and Education, an attorney and Executive Director of the Roxbury Defenders Committee, General Counsel and Assistant Secretary of the Massachusetts Executive Office for Administration and Finance, and Chair of the Massachusetts Board of Appeal on Motor Vehicle Liability Policies and Bonds. He has taught courses in law and criminal justice for over 30 years, and has been recognized by many organizations for his judicial excellence and service. Justice Ireland is a graduate of Lincoln University (BA, 1966), Columbia Law School (JD, 1969), Harvard University Law School (LLM, 1975), and Northeastern University: Law, Policy and Society Program (PhD, 1998). He is a Springfield native and currently resides in Milton.
Justice Ireland is Governor Patrick's third nomination to the state's highest court, following his 2007 nomination of Justice Margot G. Botsford and his 2008 nomination of Justice Ralph D. Gants.