Supreme Judicial Court Associate Justice Judith A. Cowin today advised
Governor Deval Patrick that she will retire from the bench on April 5,
2011. Justice Cowin has served on the Supreme Judicial Court for 11 years
and previously served on the Superior Court for almost eight years. She was the
third woman to be appointed to the Supreme Judicial Court.
"I have been privileged to serve the people of Massachusetts," stated Justice
Cowin. "I will remember these years with a conviction that the work is of
great importance and with an abiding affection for the colleagues with whom I
Chief Justice Roderick L. Ireland said, "My colleagues and I are grateful to
Justice Cowin for her many years of service and for her numerous
accomplishments. She has been an excellent Justice and a most congenial and
considerate member of the Court. She will be greatly missed by her colleagues at
the Supreme Judicial Court and on other courts. The bar and the public
have benefitted from her dedicated service."
Justice Cowin would reach the mandatory retirement age of 70 for judges in
April 2012. In explaining her decision to leave one year before mandatory
retirement, she told the Governor, "Everything has a season. It’s time to
do those things with family and friends that I have had to postpone or reduce
because of the demands of the office."
Justice Cowin has been a longtime member of the Court's Rules
Committee. She also is a member of the Wellesley Alumnae Association and
takes an active interest in advising young women about career paths and
Born in Boston, Justice Cowin earned her undergraduate degree from Wellesley
College in 1963 and her J.D. degree from Harvard Law School in 1970. Prior
to her appointment to the bench, she served as Assistant Legal Counsel to the
Massachusetts Department of Mental Health (1971-1972), Legal Counsel to the
Office of the Chief Justice of the District Court Department (1972-1979), and an
Assistant District Attorney in Norfolk County (1979-1991). She is married to
retired Appeals Court Justice William I. Cowin. They have three grown children,
five grandchildren, and another one due in April.