Associate Justice Kimberly Budd Becomes First Black Woman Chief Justice in History of Massachusetts Top Court

Governor Charlie Baker announced the nomination of Associate Justice Kimberly Budd to chief justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court on Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020. If confirmed, Budd will be the first Black woman to be chief justice in Massachusetts’ top court. Her nomination follows former Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants who died in September 2020.

In his remarks, Baker lauded Budd’s fairness and ability to listen.

“One of the things that makes a leader special is their ability to bring those around them together because they are, in fact, hearing what they’re saying,” Baker said. “Great listeners — and Kim Budd is a great listener — give people a sense that their views, their ideas, that they, matter. More than anything, at this particular time, this court needs to be led by someone who listens,” WBUR reported.

Budd said the prospect of being the first Black woman Chief Justice of the court was “a little overwhelming” but “meaningful.”

“I really have valued being on the SJC, being an associate justice and just having a seat at the table and being able to raise issues or perspectives that might not otherwise be considered. And I will continue to do that,” Budd told journalists. “And there will be six other associate justices there and we’ll have a chance to talk about all of it. I like that I have the opportunity to bring things to the group for their consideration.”

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