Press Release

Press Release  Governor Healey Nominates State Solicitor Elizabeth N. Dewar to Supreme Judicial Court

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  • Governor Maura Healey and Lt. Governor Kim Driscoll

Media Contact   for Governor Healey Nominates State Solicitor Elizabeth N. Dewar to Supreme Judicial Court

Karissa Hand, Press Secretary

Boston — Governor Maura Healey today nominated State Solicitor Elizabeth (Bessie) N. Dewar to serve as an Associate Justice on the Supreme Judicial Court. This marks Governor Healey’s first nomination to the state’s highest court since taking office. 

“Bessie Dewar is a consensus builder who has significant experience working with the Supreme Judicial Court and also a deep passion for the important work that the Court does. She is a true student of the institution, and I am confident that she is the right person to fill this seat in this pivotal moment for the Court,” said Governor Maura Healey. “I’m grateful for the hard work of the Supreme Judicial Nominating Commission to recommend her and for the Governor’s Council’s careful consideration of her nomination.” 

“Bessie Dewar is a thoughtful attorney with deep appellate experience who is adept at bringing people together to reach consensus on the best path forward for a case. These skills will serve her well as an Associate Justice on the state’s highest court,” said Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll. “Governor Healey and I are hopeful to see her continue her career of public service on the Supreme Judicial Court, and we look forward to the Governor’s Council’s review of her candidacy.” 

The Supreme Judicial Court is Massachusetts's highest appellate court, consisting of the Chief Justice and six Associate Justices. The seven Justices hear appeals on a broad range of criminal and civil cases from September through May and issue written opinions that are posted online.  

Dewar is nominated to fill the seat that is being vacated by Associate Justice Elspeth B. Cypher, who will retire on January 12, 2024. The Supreme Judicial Nominating Commission formed by Governor Healey continues to accept applications for the seat that will be vacated by Associate Justice David A. Lowy, who recently announced his intention to step down in February 2024. 

About Bessie Dewar: 

Bessie Dewar's experience spans leadership of a broad range of both criminal and civil appellate litigation, including in the Supreme Judicial Court. She previously served as an appellate and trial-level lawyer in private practice, and clerked for the Honorable Stephen G. Breyer on the U.S. Supreme Court.  

Dewar was appointed by the Attorney General to serve as the state’s second State Solicitor in 2016 and briefly served as Acting Attorney General in early 2023. In her role as State Solicitor, she supervises the briefing and arguing of appeals by attorneys throughout the Attorney General’s Office in state and federal courts, advises the Attorney General on exercising her authority to decide whether to appeal adverse decisions, and leads the office's "friend of the court" amicus brief practice, among other responsibilities. Much of her appellate work is in the Supreme Judicial Court, including reviewing dozens of briefs filed with the full Court, advising on matters pending in the Appeals Court that may be taken up by the full Court, tracking all cases taken by the Court as part of its discretionary docket and amicus announcements, and advising the Attorney General on whether and when to participate as a friend of the Court. She also serves as a member of the Supreme Judicial Court’s Standing Advisory Committee on the Rules of Appellate Procedure. 

Dewar previously worked as an appellate and trial-level lawyer in private practice at Ropes & Gray LLP, was a civil rights advocate at the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia, and served as a law clerk at all three levels of the federal judiciary, for the Honorable Stephen G. Breyer of the U.S. Supreme Court, the Honorable William A. Fletcher of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco, Calif., and the late Honorable Louis H. Pollak, of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Penn.  

Dewar is a graduate of Harvard College and the Yale Law School and has a master’s degree from the University of Cambridge. She lives in Jamaica Plain with her husband and two daughters. 


Media Contact   for Governor Healey Nominates State Solicitor Elizabeth N. Dewar to Supreme Judicial Court

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