Robert Cordy to retire, giving Baker his first high court nominee

Printed from:

STATE HOUSE — Supreme Judicial Court Justice Robert Cordy plans to retire in August, the court announced Wednesday, creating the first opportunity for Gov. Charlie Baker to make an appointment to the state’s highest court.

Justice Robert J. Cordy (

Justice Robert J. Cordy (

The former chief legal counsel to Gov. William Weld, Cordy was appointed to the Supreme Judicial Court by Gov. Paul Cellucci. Baker served in top cabinet posts under both Weld and Cellucci.

Cordy, who has served on the court for 15 years, advised the governor on his plans Wednesday and will continue to serve until the end of the term in August, according to the court.

“Justice Cordy has been a great friend and colleague since we were federal prosecutors together in 1983,” Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph Gants said in a statement. “He leaves an enduring legacy as a justice of this Court, not only because of the over 360 carefully crafted and reasoned majority opinions he has authored so far, but also because of the countless unseen contributions he has made to maintain the excellence of this Court.”

Former Chief Justice Margaret Marshall praised her former colleague, who she credited with strengthening the rule of law around the world.

“His legacy can be seen everywhere: on the construction of new courthouses, and the renovation of old, including the beautiful John Adams Courthouse; on improving outdated technology throughout the courts, on the development of new rules governing the courts and the media; on improvements in court rules . . . the list goes on and on,” Marshall said in a statement. “His profound commitment to the rule of law was not only local, but also international. He was widely invited as a speaker and adviser on the strengthening of independent judiciaries from the farthest reaches of Siberia, to Turkey, to The Gambia and elsewhere.”

Cordy has taught at New England Law|Boston since 2004 and plans to continue practicing law and continue working on rule-of-law matters around the world, the court said.

Baker’s choice to replace Cordy will need vetting and approval by the eight-member elected Governor’s Council.

— Written by Andy Metzger

Copyright State House News Service