Metro

SJC marks 325th anniversary with roundtable discussion

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court traces its roots back to the Salem witch trials. Founded in 1692 as the Superior Court of Judicature, it’s believed to be the oldest appellate court in continuous existence in the Western Hemisphere.

Centuries of history will be celebrated Wednesday when the SJC marks its 325th anniversary. To commemorate this milestone, the court will host a special roundtable discussion with Chief Justice Ralph Gants and retired chief justices Roderick Ireland, Margaret Marshall, and Herbert Wilkins at the John Adams Courthouse at One Pemberton Square.

“We’re not aware that there has ever been an event like this before; it is a unique opportunity to learn about the SJC and the role of courts from the people who have held the highest position in the court system since 1996,” said Jennifer Donahue, spokesperson for the Supreme Judicial Court. “These four chief justices have a combined total of 98 years of judicial experience, and will reflect together on their time in the court system,”

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With WBUR’s Tom Ashbrook serving as moderator, the four chief justices will talk about the challenges the court has faced over the years and the role the court has in government and society. It’s expected to be a wide-ranging conversation, as the careers of these four chief justices span several decades, from Wilkins, who began as an associate justice in 1972, to Gants, who was sworn in as chief justice in 2014 and still serves today.

The event starts at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday and is free and open to the public to attend.

Emily Sweeney can be reached at esweeney@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney.