• Leonard Webb

Newly appointed Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Kimberly Budd!

Updated: Feb 8

By Steph Solis | ssolis@masslive.com

A small group of masked politicians and photographers surrounded Supreme Judicial Court Justice Kimberly Budd as she was sworn in as chief justice.

Budd, whose family hails from Springfield, is the first Black woman to lead the high court. She’s also the first SJC appointee to be sworn into a new role during the coronavirus pandemic, which has shut down the Massachusetts State House since March.

The swearing in was small and brief, with a limited number of people allowed in due to COVID-19 restrictions. The governor’s press team did not allow members of the press, beyond a handful of photographers, to attend.

Budd, who has served on the SJC since 2016, was unanimously confirmed by the Governor’s Council to lead the high court last month. Budd has co-authored more than 85 decisions and has served on several judicial committees.

“She has all the attributes,” Councilor Marilyn Devaney said during the Governor’s Council hearing last month. “She is compassionate. She has empathy. She has all the qualifications, and she has the demeanor and temperament that we need in that position.”

Budd takes the helm after the death of the late chief justice Ralph Gants in September. When she was nominated, Budd said the news was bittersweet as it came after she lost her mentor.

Budd worked for Chief Justice Joseph P. Warner in the Massachusetts Appeals Court after graduating from Harvard Law School. She worked in private practice and served in the U.S. Attorney’s Office and in the general counsel’s office of Harvard University.

She was first appointed to the bench in 2009 by then-Gov. Deval Patrick. She served in the Superior Court, eventually working as the regional administrative justice for Middlesex Criminal Business before being nominated by Baker to the SJC in 2016.

Congratulations Ethnic GEM Chief Justice Kimberly Budd!

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