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    Justice Geraldine S. Hines retires from SJC

    The Boston Globe
    Geraldine S. Hines

    Justice Geraldine S. Hines, the first African American woman appointed to the state Supreme Judicial Court, retired Friday after serving three years as an associate justice on the state’s highest court.

    Her departure came just a few months before she turns 70, the mandatory retirement age for state judges, according to a statement issued Friday by the SJC.

    Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants, addressing the court in May as Hines sat for her final week on the bench, lauded Hines for “not only your abundant wisdom and fairness, but also your passion for truth,” the statement said.

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    First appointed to the Superior Court in 2001 by Republican Governor Paul Cellucci, the Mississippi native was appointed to the state Appeals Court by Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick, who later nominated her to the SJC.

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    Hines filled a vacancy on the seven-member court created by the retirement of Chief Justice Roderick Ireland, the first black person appointed to the high court.

    As a lawyer and judge, Hines addressed such diverse matters as civil and human rights violations, and special education policy, according to the statement.

    In retirement, Hines plans to “travel the world with her daughter and dedicate herself to social justice causes that she cares about,” the statement said.

    Her seat on the SJC will be filled by Appeals Court Chief Justice Scott L. Kafker, who was nominated by Republican Gov. Charlie Baker.

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    Kafker was unanimously confirmed to the high court by the Governor’s Council on July 19, the statement said.

    Jake Johnson can be reached at jake.johnson@globe.com.