Describing Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall as "a judge who broke out of
the ivory tower to put a human face on the court," Boston Bar Association (BBA)
Don Frederico presented Chief Justice Marshall with the BBA President's Award
earlier today at the BBA's Annual Meeting Luncheon.
"Although many of us remember Margaret Marshall as an esteemed and
beloved past president of the Boston Bar Association, historians will remember
her as the first woman to serve as Chief Justice of Massachusetts' court of last
resort, and one of this nation's great appellate judges," said Frederico in
presenting the award. "During her 14 years on the SJC, she has earned our
highest respect for her jurisprudence."
Citing Chief Justice Marshall's numerous accomplishments, Frederico
highlighted just a sampling:
Reflecting absolute fidelity to the rule of law, her opinions are written
with such clarity that you do not have to be a lawyer to understand what she is
She has produced landmark opinions reflecting a willingness to take on the
most challenging issues involving family law, criminal matters, civil rights,
and commercial and financial conflicts.
Her opinions have always provided a road map for what needs to happen
next - whether it be how individuals or the legal system were to conduct
themselves, or what actions state agencies were required to take.
In breaking out of the ivory tower to put a human face on the Court, she
introduced web-casting, made herself accessible to the media, and made herself
available to meet with business, civic, and bar groups - all because she
wanted people to understand the centrality of the rule of law in
Her appointment of the Monan Commission demonstrated her unwavering
commitment to having the management of the entire Court put under a magnifying
Leading by example and fostering a spirit of cooperation, she achieved a sea
change in the management of the courts - moving an entire branch of
government into the 21st century.
Her stewardship of the Judicial Branch during the worst economic crisis since
the Great Depression was nothing short of remarkable.
She made tremendous strides in expanding access to justice for unrepresented
"There has been an overarching theme to Chief Justice Marshall's tenure, and
that can best be expressed in the mantra, 'How Can the Courts Do Better?'," said
Frederico. "She has accomplished more in the last 14 years than most of us
accomplish in a lifetime."