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Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph Gants Dies

Ralph Gants of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
Ralph Gants

The chief justice of Massachusetts’ highest court has died after suffering a heart attack earlier this month. 

The associate justices of the Supreme Judicial Court announced the death of Chief Justice Ralph Gants in an emailed statement. Gants released a statement last week saying he suffered a heart attack on Sept. 4 and was admitted to the hospital where surgeons inserted two stents in an occluded artery. Gants had said that he expected to be discharged soon and planned “to resume full duties, albeit initially on a limited basis."

The New Rochelle, New York, native was appointed as an associate justice of the court in 2009 and was sworn in as the chief justice by Gov. Deval Patrick in 2014. 

In a statement, Gov. Charlie Baker said, "I am shocked and deeply saddened by the passing of Chief Justice Ralph Gants. He was a dedicated public servant of the highest order and sought to do justice his entire 40-year legal career. He led the Supreme Judicial Court with intelligence, integrity and distinction. In his decisions and in his role as the leader of the Commonwealth’s judicial branch, he always worked to promote the public good. His legacy as a judge and as Chief Justice is profound, and he will be sorely missed. I send my condolences to his colleagues, his friends, and his family.”

“The passing of Chief Justice Ralph Gants is a profound loss — for his family and friends, for the Supreme Judicial Court, the Judiciary and the Bar, and for all those who seek justice in our courts," said former Gov. Deval Patrick in a statement. "He was a learned, rigorous, serious and sincere jurist who faithfully honored constitutional principles and also saw the people behind the docket numbers. He was also wicked funny, taking his work but never himself too seriously. Diane and I offer our sincerest condolences to the Gants family and to the Court family, with deep gratitude for his life of servant leadership.”

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