Botwc Firsts

Kimberly Budd Set To Become Boston’s First Black Woman Chief Justice Of The Supreme Judicial Court

Kimberly Budd Set To Become Boston’s First Black Woman Chief Justice Of The Supreme Judicial Court

All rise!

Justice Kimberly Budd is set to make history as the first Black women Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) in Boston, the Daily Hampshire Gazette reports.

Budd was nominated by Governor Charlie Baker this week. She has spent more than 11 years on the bench, first as a superior court judge before being named by Baker to the SJC. A Harvard Law grad, she has been a litigator and served as director of the Community Values program at Harvard Business School.

She has served on the Supreme Judicial Court since 2016 and if confirmed would be replacing Chief Justice Ralph Gants, who passed away last month. Before her work on the SJC, Budd worked as a federal prosecutor, previously serving as an assistant U.S. attorney and working in the general counsel office at Harvard University. While ecstatic about the nomination, she said the moment was bittersweet, calling Chief Justice Gants a “mentor and friend.” Budd’s confirmation would make her the first Black woman to serve as chief of the state’s highest court and the nation’s oldest continually operating appellate court.

Baker spoke about Justice Budd’s nomination, saying, “Her resume speaks for itself, but above all, it’s her selflessness, character, and integrity that stuck out to me since the first time I met her.” 

“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,” Former Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick added in his statement.

Rachael Rollins, Suffolk County District Attorney and the first woman of color to hold the title, called Budd’s nomination an “unprecedented appointment.” 

“It is imperative that courts represent the rich and diverse range of professions, races, religions, ethnicities, and orientations that make our Commonwealth great. Justice Budd’s lived experiences bring a perspective to this role that will change the court moving forward,” Rollins said in a statement. 

Budd’s nomination still needs to be approved by the Governor’s Council, but she is already preparing to step into her new role.

“If confirmed, I promise that I will give my very best effort as the chief of the oldest continuously running appellate court in the Western Hemisphere,” Budd told reporters.

Congratulations, Justice Budd!!

Photo Courtesy of Daily Hampshire Gazette