After a nomination by Governor Patrick Justice, Gants was confirmed by the Governor’s Council with a vote of 8-0 to be the Chief Justice of the highest Court in Massachusetts. Justice Gants is a highly regarded Associate Justice of the SJC and former Superior Court judge, who will fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Chief Justice Ireland on July 25, 2014.
Governor Patrick said of Justice Gants:
“It is my great honor to nominate Ralph D. Gants to serve as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court. Justice Gants is a brilliant jurist with a passion for justice and a keen understanding that the law needs to make sense in the lives of real people. As Chief Justice, he will work tirelessly to move the Supreme Judicial Court forward and to maintain its prominence as a model of jurisprudence for our nation and the world.”
Gants has served on the SJC since 2009 after he was elevated from the state Superior Court where he was appointed by Governor Weld. In his 33-year legal career, Gants worked in the U.S. Attorney’s office, as an assistant to the director of the F.B.I., as a defense attorney and has taught classes at New England Law Boston and Harvard University. Justice Gants has been co-chair of the Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission and Chair of the SJC Standing Committee on Model Jury Instructions on Homicide. His leadership on the Access to Justice Commission has been regarded as resulting in “programs and new ideas that will improve the Commonwealth’s court system, making courts accessible and understandable to all litigants in all types of legal matters.” He is a graduate of Harvard College (A.B. summa cum laude, Economics, 1976), Cambridge University, Cambridge, England (Diploma in Criminology, 1977) and Harvard Law School (J.D. magna cum laude, 1980).
Justice Gants will be Governor Patrick’s sixth appointment to the state’s highest court
Gants said he would like to see the courts become better at problem solving, and move towards more individualized sentences for those convicted. Gants wants to see judges be able to dole out sentences that are proportional to the crime and the individual, and said mandatory sentences get in the way of that.
Many other states are moving away from mandatory sentencing, a move which Gants supports in Massachusetts. He commented that public sentiment on sentencing, drug cases in particular, is shifting largely because what has been done is not working.
“I have been there, having to impose sentences I thought were longer than I thought appropriate,” Gants said.
 Boston Bar Association. See http://www.bostonbar.org/membership/publications/news-release?ID=271