10/29/20 By Casey Bernhard
Governor Charlie Baker nominated Kimberly Budd as chief justice of Massachusetts’s Supreme Court on Wednesday, making her the first Black woman to lead the state’s highest court if confirmed.
Budd’s nomination follows an opening left on the court by the death of Justice Ralph D. Gants last month, which further shook the state’s judiciary after the coronavirus pandemic left courts struggling to swiftly address the new wave of issues that arose.
“People in the Commonwealth are in a panic,” Budd said at a news conference on Wednesday. “People are hurting, and we have to make sure that the judiciary is running as well as it can, and that’s what I’m focused on right now.”
Budd, a Harvard Law graduate, accepted a nomination to the state’s Superior Court in 2009 from Governor Deval Patrick after working as an assistant prosecutor in the U.S. attorney’s office and the director of the Community Values Program at Harvard Business School.
Baker then named her to the Supreme Court as an associate justice in 2016.
“More than ever, we need her leadership and the unique lens with which she views experience and makes decisions,” Baker said in introducing Budd as his nominee for chief justice. “More than anything, at this particular time, this court needs to be led by someone who listens.”
The nomination marks the first of several expected to come from Baker, which point to a future court filled entirely by his appointees if all gain approval from the Governor’s Council.