The Governor’s Council on Wednesday unanimously confirmed the appointment of Judge Frank M. Gaziano to the Supreme Judicial Court, marking Governor Charlie Baker’s first appointment to the state’s highest court.
Baker’s nominations of Superior Court judges Kimberly S. Budd and David A. Lowy are pending, in what will be a historic remake of the court, the oldest appellate court in the country. The governor congratulated Gaziano in a statement Wednesday and said he looks forward “to the contributions his experience and tireless work ethic will bring to the Commonwealth’s highest court.”
Gaziano, 52, expressed gratitude to Baker for his nomination and to the Governor’s Council for its fair hearing of his qualifications.
“My role is to become a valued and contributing member of a great and historic court,” he said in a phone interview.
Gaziano focused on the importance of the court itself.
“The court holds a special place in the Commonwealth,” he said. “The court affects people’s everyday lives. The court guarantees people fair trials and individual liberties.”
Martin W. Healy, chief legal counsel for the Massachusetts Bar Association, called Gaziano a dedicated jurist known for his ethics and intellectual prowess.
The high court’s current justices have tapped Gaziano for task forces on complex legal issues such as rules of evidence and jury instructions, he said.
“The governor really has made a strong opening statement by his appointment of Gaziano to the bench, and he’s going to be a tough act to follow for judges that succeed him,” Healy said.
Gaziano said that despite his experience with the court, he is prepared for some surprises.
“I think it’s impossible to truly know the job until you are actually there and trying to do it,” he said. “I know given the scope of my role that it’s going to be a very challenging job, and I look forward to trying to meet those challenges.”
Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said in a statement that Gaziano has earned a reputation for holding the attorneys before him to the very highest standards.
“He embodied everything we ask of our judiciary: painstakingly fair, unfailingly respectful, possessed of a keen legal mind, and innovative in his approach to solving problems,” Conley said. “Prosecutors and defense attorneys have lost a highly respected trial judge, but we’ve gained an outstanding associate justice of the SJC.”