As Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Sits, Maura Healey’s Ex-Main-Squeeze Remains On State Appeals Court

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By Colin A. Young
State House News Service

Six justices of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court took the bench Monday morning for the high court’s April sitting week. And for the second month in a row, the second of Governor Maura Healey’s picks for the state’s highest court to be confirmed was not among them.

The Governor’s Council confirmed Gabrielle Wolohojian, an Appeals Court judge, to file a vacancy on the Supreme Judicial Courtwith a 6-1 vote on February 28, but she has not yet been sworn in. Healey’s office said Friday, March 29 that it did not have any update on Wolohojian’s swearing-in and said the confirmed justice is “finishing her work” on the Appeals Court. Wolohojian, a lesbian, is Healey’s ex-partner.

A court spokesman said Monday, April 1 that Wolohojian is completing work on Appeals Court cases on which she participated as a panel member before her nomination.

Wolohojian has been a judge on the Appeals Court, the state’s second highest court, for 16 years. The judges of the Appeals Court generally hear cases as part of rotating panels of three, and each associate justice also considers other cases alone for a month at a time. The court said it generally takes about 130 days after arguments for the Appeals Court to issue written opinions.

Healey nominated Wolohojian on February 7 to fill the Supreme Judicial Court vacancy created when then-Justice David Lowy stepped down on February 2 to take a job at the University of Massachusetts.

The Governor’s Council held Wolohojian’s confirmation hearing February 21 and voted to confirm her nomination on February 28. Healey’s first Supreme Judicial Court nominee, Justice Bessie Dewar, was sworn in six days after the council confirmed her. Unlike Wolohojian, Dewar was not already a member of the judiciary when she was tapped for the Supreme Judicial Court.

The time from confirmation to swearing-in was similarly short for new state district court Judge Francis Kenneally. The clerk of the Supreme Judicial Court for the last decade, Kenneally was unanimously confirmed by the council Wednesday, March 27 and was sworn in by Healey at 11:30 a.m. Monday, April 1.

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