Today, Governor Charlie Baker announced his nomination of Appeals Court Justice Scott Kafker to be the next Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Appeals Court. If approved by the Governor’s Council, Justice Kafker would fill the vacancy created by the retirement of current Appeals Court Chief Justice Phillip Rapoza.
This marks the first judicial nomination of the Baker Administration, as well as the first to have been selected through the Judicial Nominating Commission that was reconstituted by the new Governor, and is chaired by BBA President Emeritus Paul T. Dacier.
“Justice Kafker has demonstrated a long-standing commitment to fairness and the rule of law,” said BBA President Julia Huston. “The BBA applauds Governor Baker and the JNC for acting expeditiously to ensure continuity in this important post.”
Justice Kafker brings to his new role a wealth of experience, not only as a respected jurist with 14 years on the Appeals Court, but also as deputy legal counsel to Governor Bill Weld and as a professor at Boston College Law School and the National Judicial College.
Since Governor Michael Dukakis first established a JNC in 1975, each succeeding Governor has used the Commission to screen candidates for judicial vacancies. The JNC is currently working on applications for several other judicial positions and is expected to have many more vacancies to fill over the coming months.
Chief Justice Rapoza leaves the bench after a distinguished 23-year career as a judge, including the past nine years as Appeals Court Chief Justice. In addition to his work in the Massachusetts court system, he has been active in promoting the rule of law globally and has served on international tribunals.