Gov. Baker nominates Kimberly Budd to Chief Justice of Supreme Judicial Court

Boston Statehouse

BOSTON (WWLP/SHNS) – Governor Charlie Baker announced Wednesday morning the nomination of a new chief justice of the Supreme Judicial Court.

Baker nominated Associate Justice Kimberly Budd to the position. If confirmed, Budd will become the first female black chief justice in the history of the court.

The seat went vacant when Chief Justice Ralph Gants passed away earlier this year.

Budd was first appointed to the Supreme Judicial Court in 2016 by Baker, and since her confirmation has authored 85 decisions. At 54 years old, she will be the youngest chief justice of the SJC in 150 years.

Budd would be assuming the position once held by the late Ralph Gants. Gov. Baker said, “He left big shoes to fill, but I can think of no one more qualified and better prepared to carry the court’s mission forward than Kim Budd.”

Former Massachusetts Governor and Democratic presidential candidate Deval Patrick released a statement Wednesday:

Justice Budd is an inspired choice for the next Chief Justice of our highest court. She is a thoughtful, measured jurist, experienced in both trial and appellate courts, patient, collegial, empathetic, and a great listener. Like her predecessor, she will take care to seek justice, not just technical legal accuracy. I trust the Executive Council will also acknowledge her many gifts and confirm her historic appointment promptly.

Deval Patrick

Before being named to the top court, Budd became a judge in 2009 when former Gov. Deval Patrick, a Democrat, nominated her for the Superior Court bench. A graduate of Georgetown University and Harvard Law School, she is also the daughter of former U.S. Attorney Wayne Budd. Wayne Budd was from Springfield and served as U.S. attorney in Massachusetts from 1989 to 1992.

The decision to elevate a sitting justice also means that Baker will get to nominate two more associate justices before the end of the year to fill Budd’s position, as well as the seat held by retiring Justice Barbara Lenk.

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