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Coordinates: 42°21′33″N 71°03′39″W / 42.359297°N 71.060954°W / 42.359297; -71.060954 Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Seal of Massachusetts Established 1692 Jurisdiction Massachusetts , United States Location Boston, Massachusetts Composition method Executive appointment with quasi-legislative consent Authorized by Massachusetts Constitution Decisions are appealed to Supreme Court of the United States John Adams Courthouse, home to the SJC The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) is the highest court in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The SJC has the distinction of being the oldest continuously functioning appellate court in the Western Hemisphere. Contents 1 History 2 Functions 3 Landmark cases 4 Composition 4.1 Current composition 4.2 Notable members 4.3 List of Chief Justices 4.3.1 Pre-Revolution 4.3.2 Post-Revolution 4.4 All members after 1800 5 Citation 6 References 7 External links 8 Resources History The court was established in 1692 as the "Superior Court of Judicature". It was formed by order of the British Crown in response to the large number of prosecutions stemming from the Salem Witch Trials. Its name was changed to the Supreme Judicial Court after the adoption of the Massachusetts Constitution in 1780. In 1804 an official case reporter was created to publish the court's decisions, and the first officially reported decision was Gold v. Eddy (1804). Functions The seven Justices hear appeals on a broad range of criminal and civil cases between September and May. Single Justice sessions are held each week throughout the year for certain motions pertaining to cases on trial or on appeal, bail reviews, bar discipline proceedings, petitions for admission to the bar, and a variety of other statutory proceedings. The Associate Justices sit as Single Justices each month on a rotation schedule. The full bench renders approximately 200 written decisions each year; the single justices decide a total of approximately 600 cases annually. In addition to its appellate functions, the SJC is responsible for the general superintendence of the judiciary and of the bar, the creation or approval of rules for the operations of all the state courts, and, in certain instances, providing advisory opinions, upon request, to the Governor and General Court on various legal issues. The SJC also has oversight responsibility in varying degrees, according to statutes, with several affiliated agencies of the judicial branch, including the Board of Bar Overseers, the Office of Bar Counsel, the Board of Bar Examiners, the Clients' Security Board, the Commission on Judicial Conduct, the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation, the Massachusetts Mental Health Legal Advisors’ Committee, and Correctional Legal Services, Inc. The SJC is sits at the John Adams Courthouse, 1 Pemberton Square, Boston, Massachusetts 02108, which also houses the Massachusetts Appeals Court and the Social Law Library. Landmark cases Rex v. Preston (1770) - Captain Thomas Preston, the Officer of the Day during the Boston Massacre, was acquitted when the jury was unable to determine whether he had ordered the troops to fire. The defense counsel in the case was a young attorney named John Adams, later the second President of the United States. Rex v. Wemms, et al. (1770) - Six soldiers involved in the Boston Massacre were found not guilty, and two more – the only two proven to have fired – were found guilty of manslaughter. Commonwealth v. Nathaniel Jennison (1783) - The Court declared slavery unconstitutional in the state of Massachusetts by allowing slaves to sue their masters for freedom. Boston lawyer, and member of the Massachusetts Constitutional Convention of 1779, John Lowell, upon the adoption of Article I for inclusion in the Massachusetts Constitution, exclaimed: "...I will render my services as a lawyer gratis to any slave suing for his freedom if it is withheld from him..."[1] With this case, he fulfilled his promise. Slavery in Massachusetts was denied legal standing. Commonwealth v. Hunt (1842) - The Court established that trade unions were not necessarily criminal or conspiring organizations if they did not advocate violence or illegal activities in their attempts to gain recognition through striking. This legalized the existence of non-socialist or non-violent trade organizations, though trade unions would continue to be harassed legally through anti-trust suits and injunctions. Roberts v. Boston (1850) - The Court established the "separate but equal" doctrine that would later be used in Plessy v. Ferguson by maintaining that the law gave school boards complete authority in assigning students to schools and that they could do so along racial lines if they deemed it appropriate. Goodridge v. Department of Public Health (2003) - The Court ruled that the denial of marriage licenses to same-sex couples violated the Massachusetts Constitution. Composition The Court consists of a Chief Justice and six Associate Justices appointed by the Governor of Massachusetts with the consent of the Governor's Council. The Justices hold office until the mandatory retirement age of seventy, like all other Massachusetts judges. Current composition The currently serving justices are: Justice Began active service Appointed by Ireland, Roderick L.Roderick L. Ireland 1997 (Assoc.) 2010 (Chief) William Weld (1997) Deval Patrick (2010)[2] Botsford, MargotMargot Botsford 2007 Deval Patrick Cordy, Robert J.Robert J. Cordy 2001 Paul Cellucci Duffly, Fernande R.V.Fernande R.V. Duffly 2011[3] Deval Patrick Gants, RalphRalph Gants 2009 Deval Patrick Lenk, BarbaraBarbara Lenk 2011[4] Deval Patrick Spina, Francis X.Francis X. Spina 1999 Paul Cellucci Notable members William Cushing, Horace Gray, and Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. served on the Supreme Court of the United States after leaving the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Charles Fried served as United States Solicitor General from 1985 to 1989 under Ronald Reagan List of Chief Justices Pre-Revolution # Chief Justice Took office Left office 1 John Stoughton 1692 1701 2 Wait Winthrop 1701 1701 3 Isaac Addington 1702 1703 4 Wait Winthrop 1708 1717 5 Samuel Sewall 1718 1728 6 Benjamin Lynde 1729 1745 7 Paul Dudley 1745 1751 8 Stephen Sewall 1752 1760 9 Thomas Hutchinson 1761 1769 10 Benjamin Lynde 1769 1771 11 Peter Oliver 1772 1775 Post-Revolution # Chief Justice Took office Left office 1 John Adams 1775 1776 2 William Cushing 1777 1789 3 Nathaniel Peaslee Sargent 1790 1791 4 Francis Dana 1791 1806 5 Theophilus Parsons 1806 1813 6 Samuel Sewall 1814 1814 7 Isaac Parker August 24, 1814 July 25, 1830 8 Lemuel Shaw August 30, 1830 August 21, 1860 9 George Tyler Bigelow September 7, 1860 December 31, 1867 10 Reuben Atwater Chapman February 7, 1868 June 28, 1873 11 Horace Gray September 5, 1873 January 9, 1882 12 Marcus Morton January 16, 1882 August 27, 1890 13 Walbridge A. Field September 4, 1890 July 15, 1899 14 Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. August 2, 1899 December 8, 1902 15 Marcus Perrin Knowlton December 17, 1902 September 7, 1911 16 Arthur Prentice Rugg September 20, 1911 June 12, 1938 17 Fred Tarbell Field June 30, 1938 July 24, 1947 18 Stanley Elroy Qua August 6, 1947 September 6, 1956 19 Raymond Sanger Wilkins September 13, 1956 September 1, 1970 20 G. Joseph Tauro 1970 January 10, 1976 21 Edward F. Hennessey 1976 April 19, 1989 22 Paul J. Liacos June 20, 1989 September 30, 1996 23 Herbert P. Wilkins October 1, 1996 August 31, 1999 24 Margaret H. Marshall October 14, 1999 December 19, 2010[5] 25 Roderick L. Ireland December 20, 2010 Incumbent (faces mandatory retirement on December 3, 2014) All members after 1800 Justice Began active service Ended active service Appointed by Abrams, RuthRuth Abrams 1978 2000 Michael Dukakis Allen, WilliamWilliam Allen - - - Allen, CharlesCharles Allen 1882 1898 John D. Long Ames, SethSeth Ames - - - Barker, JamesJames Barker - - - Bigelow, GeorgeGeorge Bigelow - - - Botsford, MargotMargot Botsford 2007 - Deval Patrick Braley, HenryHenry Braley - - - Braucher, RobertRobert Braucher 1971 1981 Francis W. Sargent Carroll, JamesJames Carroll - - - Chapman, ReubenReuben Chapman - - - Colburn, WaldoWaldo Colburn 1882 1885 John Davis Long Colt, JamesJames Colt - - - Cordy, Robert J.Robert J. Cordy 2001 - Paul Cellucci Counihan, EdwardEdward Counihan - - - Cowin, Judith A.Judith A. Cowin 1999 2011 Paul Cellucci Cox, LouisLouis Cox - - - Crosby, John C.John C. Crosby 1914 1937 David I. Walsh Cushing, CalebCaleb Cushing 1852 1853 George S. Boutwell Cutter, R. AmmiR. Ammi Cutter - - - Dana, FrancisFrancis Dana 1791 1806 John Hancock Dawes, ThomasThomas Dawes 1792 1802 John Hancock Decourcy, CharlesCharles Decourcy - - - Devens, CharlesCharles Devens 1873 1877 William B. Washburn Devens, CharlesCharles Devens 1881 1891 John D. Long Dolan, ArthurArthur Dolan - - - Donahue, CharlesCharles Donahue - - - Duffly, Fernande R.V.Fernande R.V. Duffly 2011 - Deval Patrick Endicott, WilliamWilliam Endicott - 1882 - Field, Fred T.Fred T. Field - - - Field, Walbridge A.Walbridge A. Field 1881 1890 John D. Long Fletcher, RichardRichard Fletcher 1848 1853 - Forbes, CharlesCharles Forbes - - - Foster, DwightDwight Foster 1866 1869 Alexander H. Bullock Fried, CharlesCharles Fried 1995 1999 William Weld Gants, Ralph D.Ralph D. Gants 2009 - Deval Patrick Gardner, WilliamWilliam Gardner - - - Gray, HoraceHorace Gray 1864 1881 John Albion Andrew Greaney, John M.John M. Greaney 1989 2008 Michael Dukakis Hammond, JohnJohn Hammond - - - Hennessey, Edward F.Edward F. Hennessey - - - Hoar, Ebenezer R.Ebenezer R. Hoar - - - Holmes, Jr., Oliver WendellOliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. 1882 1902 John Davis Long/Associate, Roger Wolcott/Chief Hubbard, SamuelSamuel Hubbard - - - Ireland, Roderick L.Roderick L. Ireland 1997 - William Weld/Associate, Deval Patrick/Chief Jenney, CharlesCharles Jenney - - - Kaplan, BenjaminBenjamin Kaplan 1972 1981 Francis W. Sargent Kirk, Sr., Paul G.Paul G. Kirk, Sr. - - - Knowlton, MarcusMarcus Knowlton - - - Lathrop, JohnJohn Lathrop - - - Lenk, BarbaraBarbara Lenk 2011 - Deval Patrick Liacos, Paul J.Paul J. Liacos - - - Lord, OtisOtis Lord - - - Loring, WilliamWilliam Loring - - - Lummus, HenryHenry Lummus - - - Lynch, Neil L.Neil L. Lynch - - - Marshall, Margaret H.Margaret H. Marshall 1996 2010 William Weld/Associate, Paul Cellucci/Chief Merrick, PlinyPliny Merrick - - - Metcalf, TheronTheron Metcalf 1848 1865 George N. Briggs Morton, MarcusMarcus Morton 1825 1840 - Morton, JamesJames Morton - - - Nolan, JosephJoseph Nolan - - - O'Connor, Francis PatrickFrancis Patrick O'Connor 1981 1997 Edward J. King Pierce, EdwardEdward Pierce - - - Putnam, SamuelSamuel Putnam 1814 1842 -Caleb Strong Qua, StanleyStanley Qua - - - Quirico, FrancisFrancis Quirico - - - Reardon, PaulPaul Reardon - - - Ronan, JamesJames Ronan - - - Rugg, ArthurArthur Rugg - - - Sanderson, GeorgeGeorge Sanderson - - - Sedgwick, TheodoreTheodore Sedgwick 1802 1813 Caleb Strong Sewall, SamuelSamuel Sewall 1800 1814 - Sheldon, HenryHenry Sheldon - - - Sosman, Martha B.Martha B. Sosman 2000 2007 Paul Cellucci Soule, AugustAugust Soule - - - Spalding, JohnJohn Spalding - - - Spiegel, JacobJacob Spiegel - - - Spina, Francis X.Francis X. Spina 1999 - Paul Cellucci Strong, SimeonSimeon Strong - - - Tauro, G. JosephG. Joseph Tauro 1970 1976 Francis W. Sargent Thatcher, GeorgeGeorge Thatcher - - - Thomas, BenjaminBenjamin Thomas - - - Wait, WilliamWilliam Wait - - - Wells, JohnJohn Wells - - - Whittemore, ArthurArthur Whittemore - - - Wilkins, Herbert P.Herbert P. Wilkins 1972 1999 Francis W. Sargent, Associate/William Weld/Chief Wilkins, RaymondRaymond Wilkins - - - Williams, HaroldHarold Williams - - - Citation The proper legal citation for the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court is "Mass. S.J.C". References ^ Lowell, Delmar R., The Historic Genealogy of the Lowells of America from 1639 to 1899 (p 35); Rutland VT, The Tuttle Company, 1899; ISBN 9780788415678. ^ Boston Globe: Frank Phillips, "Patrick to name first African-American chief justice of SJC," November 4, 2010, accessed April 4, 2011 ^ Boston Herald: "Newest Mass. SJC Justice ‘Nan’ Duffly takes seat," February 7, 2011, accessed April 4, 2011 ^ Levenson, Michael (May 4, 2011). "Lenk approved for SJC; first openly gay justice on state's highest court". Boston Globe. http://www.boston.com/news/local/breaking_news/2011/05/lenk_approved_f.html. Retrieved May 4, 2011.  ^ Boston Globe: "Margaret Marshall, author of Mass. gay marriage decision, to retire," July 21, 2010, accessed April 4, 2011 External links Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts List of Chief Justices of the Supreme Judicial Court Supreme Judicial Court, Office of the Reporter of Decisions Resources About the Supreme Court Supreme Judicial Court Historical Society Gay-Marriage Decision: Just the Beginning of the Debate Memoirs v. Massachusetts Simpson's Contemporary Quotations v · d · eCurrent statewide government officials of Massachusetts U.S. Senators John Kerry · Scott Brown U.S. House Massachusetts's congressional districts · List of Representatives from Massachusetts State constitutional officers Deval Patrick (Governor) · Tim Murray (Lieutenant Governor) · William Galvin (Secretary of State) · Martha Coakley (Attorney General) · Steve Grossman (Treasurer) · Suzanne Bump (Auditor) State Senate leaders Therese Murray (President) · Frederick Berry (Majority Leader) · Bruce E. Tarr (Minority Leader) State House leaders Robert DeLeo (Speaker) · Ronald Mariano (Majority Leader) · Bradley Jones (Minority Leader) Supreme Judicial Court Roderick L. Ireland (Chief) · vacant · Francis X. Spina · Judith A. Cowin · Robert J. 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