For Immediate Release - April 17, 2014

GOVERNOR PATRICK ANNOUNCES NOMINATION OF HIGHLY RESPECTED JURIST RALPH D. GANTS AS CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE MASSACHUSETTS SUPREME JUDICIAL COURT

Ralph D. Gants Nomination

Governor Deval Patrick today announced the nomination of Justice Ralph D. Gants to serve as Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC). (Photo: Eric Haynes / Governor’s Office)

BOSTON – Thursday, April 17, 2014 – Governor Deval Patrick today announced the nomination of Justice Ralph D. Gants to serve as Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC). Justice Gants, a highly regarded Associate Justice of the SJC and former Superior Court judge, is slated to fill the vacancy to be created by the retirement of Chief Justice Roderick L. Ireland on July 25, 2014. 

“It is my great honor to nominate Ralph D. Gants to serve as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court, said Governor Patrick. “Justice Gants is a brilliant jurist with a passion for justice and a keen understanding that the law needs to make sense in the lives of real people. As Chief Justice, he will work tirelessly to move the Supreme Judicial Court forward and to maintain its prominence as a model of jurisprudence for our nation and the world.”

Justice Gants was first appointed to the SJC by Governor Patrick in 2009. While serving on the SJC, Justice Gants has been co-chair of the Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission and Chair of the SJC Standing Committee on Model Jury Instructions on Homicide.  His diligent leadership on the Access to Justice Commission has resulted in programs and new ideas that will improve the Commonwealth’s court system, making courts accessible and understandable to all litigants in all types of legal matters. Prior to his appointment to the SJC, Justice Gants had served since 1997 as an Associate Justice of the Superior Court and since 2008 as the Administrative Justice of the Superior Court Business Litigation Section.

Justice Gants began his extensive legal career, which spans over 33 years of public and private service, as a law clerk to the Honorable Eugene H. Nickerson of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Judge Gants worked in Washington, D.C. as Special Assistant to then-FBI Director, William H. Webster, before joining the United States Attorney's Office in Boston. He served as a prosecutor for eight years and became Chief of the office's Public Corruption Division. For six years prior to his nomination to the Superior Court by Governor Weld, Justice Gants practiced law at the Boston firm of Palmer & Dodge LLP, specializing in white collar criminal defense, internal investigations, complex civil litigation and employment law. While at the firm, he also represented indigent federal criminal defendants. 

Justice Gants has taught courses at Northeastern University School of Law, New England School of Law and Harvard Law School.  He is a graduate of Harvard College (A.B. summa cum laude, Economics, 1976), Cambridge University, Cambridge, England (Diploma in Criminology, 1977) and Harvard Law School (J.D. magna cum laude, 1980). 

If confirmed, Justice Gants will be Governor Patrick’s sixth appointment to the state’s highest court, following the appointments of Associate Justice Margot G. Botsford in 2007, Associate Justice Gants in 2009, Chief Justice Roderick L. Ireland in 2010, and Associate Justices Fernande R. V. Duffly and Barbara A. Lenk in 2011. 

To view the Governor’s remarks, click here.

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