|Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court|
July 28, 2014 –September 14, 2020
|Appointed by||Deval Patrick|
|Preceded by||Roderick L. Ireland|
|Succeeded by|| Barbara Lenk |
|Associate Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court|
January 29, 2009 –July 28, 2014
|Appointed by||Deval Patrick|
|Preceded by||John Greaney|
|Succeeded by||Geraldine Hines|
|Born||September 29, 1954|
New Rochelle, New York, U.S.
|Died||September 14, 2020 65)(aged|
|Education|| Harvard University (BA, JD)|
University of Cambridge
Ralph D. Gants (September 29, 1954 –September 14, 2020) was an American attorney and jurist who served as the chief justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. He was sworn in on July 28, 2014. Gants had previously served as an Assistant United States Attorney.
Gants was born in New Rochelle, New York, in 1954. He received his Bachelor of Arts, summa cum laude from Harvard College in 1976, graduating Phi Beta Kappa.The following year he completed a Diploma in Criminology at Cambridge University in England. In 1980, he earned a Juris Doctor, magna cum laude , from Harvard Law School where he was notes editor of the Harvard Law Review .
After graduation from law school, he served as law clerk to United States District Court Judge Eugene H. Nickerson.From 1981 to 1983, he was Special Assistant to Judge William H. Webster, Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In 1983, he was appointed Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts, serving as Chief of Public Corruption Division from 1988 to 1991. In 1991, he joined the Boston law firm of Palmer & Dodge LLP, becoming a partner in 1994. He taught at Harvard Law School, New England School of Law, and Northeastern University School of Law.
Gants was a proponent of criminal justice reform throughout his career, and he worked with the Massachusetts General Court in passing a criminal justice reform bill in 2018. He was also an outspoken opponent of mandatory minimum sentences, having told the Judiciary Committee in 2015, "If you do not abolish minimum mandatory sentences for drug offenses, you must accept the tragic fact that this disparate treatment of persons of color will be allowed to continue."
He was appointed as a Judge of the Massachusetts Superior Court in 1997 by Governor William Weld.In 2008, he served as Administrative Justice of the Superior Court's Business Litigation Session. Governor Deval Patrick appointed Justice Gants to the Supreme Judicial Court in December 2008 and he took office in January 2009 after being confirmed by the Governor's Council. Upon learning of his nomination, a Governor's Councillor remarked, "Ralph Gants is a mensch, and the bench needs a mensch." On April 17, 2014, he was nominated by Governor Patrick to replace Roderick L. Ireland as Chief Justice after his retirement; he was confirmed by the Governor's Council and was sworn in on July 28, 2014. The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts announced that the courts will be closed on Friday, September 18, 2020 as a day of remembrance for Chief Justice Grants.
Justice Gants was married with two children.Gants died on September 14, 2020, at the age of 65. He had previously suffered a heart attack.
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) is the highest court in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Although the claim is disputed by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, the SJC claims the distinction of being the oldest continuously functioning appellate court in the Americas, with a recognized history dating to the establishment of the Massachusetts Superior Court of Judicature in 1692 under the charter of the Province of Massachusetts Bay.
Margaret Hilary Marshall was the 24th chief justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, and the first woman to hold that position. She was chief justice from 1999 to 2010. On July 21, 2010, she announced her retirement. She was Senior Fellow of the Yale Corporation until she retired from the board in 2016, Senior Counsel at Choate Hall & Stewart, and a member of the Council of the American Law Institute. Marshall was elected in 2017 to the American Philosophical Society.
Ruth Ida Abrams was the first female justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, where she served from 1978 to 2000, and the first female appellate justice in Massachusetts.
Paul Julian Liacos was the Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court from 1989 to 1996.
G. Joseph Tauro was the Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court from 1970 to 1976.
Martha B. Sosman was an American lawyer and jurist from Massachusetts. Appointed by Governor Paul Cellucci, she served as an Associate Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court from 2000 until her death.
The Massachusetts Appeals Court is the intermediate appellate court of Massachusetts. It was created in 1972 as a court of general appellate jurisdiction. The court is located at the John Adams Courthouse at Pemberton Square in Boston, the same building which houses the Supreme Judicial Court and the Social Law Library.
John M. Greaney is a former Associate Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court and former Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Appeals Court. After his judicial retirement, he served as Director of the Macaronis Institute for Trial and Appellate Advocacy at Suffolk University Law School. He currently is in private practice as Senior Counsel at Bulkley Richardson in Springfield, Massachusetts.
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is governed by a set of political tenets laid down in its state constitution. Legislative power is held by the bicameral General Court, which is composed of the Senate and House of Representatives. The governor exercises executive power with other independently elected officers: the Attorney General, Secretary of the Commonwealth, and Auditor. The state's judicial power rests in the Supreme Judicial Court, which manages its court system. Cities and towns act through local governmental bodies to the extent that they are authorized by the Commonwealth on local issues, including limited home-rule authority. Although most county governments were abolished during the 1990s and 2000s, a handful remain.
Francis Patrick O'Connor was an associate judge of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.
Roderick L. Ireland is a former Chief Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, and the first African American to serve that position. He was nominated for Chief Justice by Governor Deval Patrick on November 4, 2010, and sworn in on December 20. He retired from service on the court on July 25, 2014.
Herbert P. Wilkins served as Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court from 1996 to 1999, a position his father, Raymond Sanger Wilkins, held from 1956 to 1970.
Barbara A. Lenk is an American attorney and jurist serving as a Associate Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. On April 4, 2011, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick nominated her to that position and she was confirmed by the Governor's Council on May 4, 2011. She took the oath of office on June 8, 2011.
Judith Cathy Arnold Cowin is a retired justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. She was born in Boston.
Geraldine S. Hines was an Associate Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court from 2014 to 2017. She was nominated in July 2014 by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and confirmed by an 8–0 vote of the Governor's Council. She succeeded Ralph D. Gants, who was promoted to Chief Justice.
Arthur Easterbrook Whittemore was a Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court from 1955 to 1969. He was appointed by Governor Christian Herter.
Scott L. Kafker is an Associate Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts and the former Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Appeals Court.
Kimberly S. Budd is an Associate Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts and former Justice of the Massachusetts Superior Court.
Arthur Walter Dolan was a Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court from 1937 to 1949. He was appointed by Governor Charles F. Hurley.
| Associate Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court |
Roderick L. Ireland
| Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court |