FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 6/11/2014

Contact: Contact: Eric Fullerton

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Statement on Confirmation of Justice Ralph D. Gants as Chief Justice of Supreme Judicial Court

Following this afternoon's confirmation of Associate Justice Ralph D. Gants to become the next Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, Boston Bar Association (BBA) President Paul T. Dacier issued the following statement:

"The Boston Bar Association applauds the Governor's Council for confirming Ralph Gants as the next Chief Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court. The Supreme Judicial Court is the highest court in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and its decisions concern the full spectrum of law. Those decisions affect the lives of all of us in Massachusetts and beyond.

Justice Gants is a leader among jurists and in the community. His exemplary intellect and commitment to the rule of law has been demonstrated over his long and distinguished career on the bench. As Justice Gants said in his recent confirmation hearing, the Constitution is a 'living, breathing document…[that] must adapt to changing circumstances and to our evolving understanding of the meaning of due process and equity under the law.'

In his testimony before the Governor's Council, we were pleased to see that Justice Gants expressed views against mandatory sentencing and the death penalty, showed support for providing the possibility of parole for juveniles, and spoke of treating specialty court sessions as 'problem solving courts.'

We value Justice Gants's leadership and partnership on pro bono and access to justice initiatives, including our work with him on the Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission. The BBA appreciates his willingness to collaborate with the legislature to achieve common goals, including adequate funding for the trial court, and to address serious problems facing the judiciary.

We congratulate Justice Gants on the occasion of his confirmation – the Commonwealth will be well-served with his leadership of the Supreme Judicial Court."

Justice Gants was nominated to the Supreme Judicial Court in 2008. Prior to that appointment, he served on the Massachusetts Superior Court since 1997 and was Administrative Justice of the Superior Court's Business Litigation Session during that time. He was recognized at the 2012 BBA Annual Law Day Dinner with the Citation of Judicial Excellence.

The Boston Bar Association is a non-profit, voluntary membership organization of 11,000 attorneys drawn from private practice, corporations, government agencies, legal aid organizations, the courts, and law schools. It traces its origins to meetings convened by John Adams, the lawyer who provided pro bono representation to the British soldiers prosecuted for the Boston Massacre and went on to become the second president of the United States.