42°21′33″N 71°03′39″W / 42.359297°N 71.060954°W / 42.359297; -71.060954

Supreme Judicial Court
of Massachusetts
Seal with motto "Nulli vendemus, nulli negabimus aut differemus, rectum aut justitiam" (To no one will we sell, to no one deny or delay right or justice)
Established1692; 331 years ago (1692)
LocationBoston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Coordinates42°21′32.75″N 71°3′40.5″W / 42.3590972°N 71.061250°W / 42.3590972; -71.061250
Composition methodExecutive appointments with quasi-legislative consent
Authorized byMassachusetts Constitution
Appeals toSupreme Court of the United States
Judge term lengthMandatory retirement at 70 years of age
Number of positions7
WebsiteOfficial website
Chief Justice
CurrentlyKimberly S. Budd
SinceDecember 1, 2020
Lead position endsOctober 23, 2036
John Adams Courthouse, home to the SJC

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) is the highest court in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Although the claim is disputed by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania,[1][2] the SJC claims the distinction of being the oldest continuously functioning appellate court in the Americas,[3] with a recognized history dating to the establishment of the Massachusetts Superior Court of Judicature in 1692 under the charter of the Province of Massachusetts Bay.[4][nb 1]

Although it was historically composed of four associate justices and one chief justice, the court is currently composed of six associate justices and one chief justice.


The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court traces its history back to the high court of the British Province of Massachusetts Bay, which was chartered in 1692. Under the terms of that charter, Governor Sir William Phips established the Superior Court of Judicature as the province's local court of last resort (some of the court's decisions could be appealed to courts in England). When the Massachusetts State Constitution was established in 1780, legislative and judicial records show that the state's high court, although renamed, was a continuation of provincial high court. During and after the period of the American Revolution the court had members who were appointed by royal governors, the executive council of the Massachusetts Provincial Congress (which acted as the state's executive from 1775 to 1780), and governors elected under the state constitution.

Location and citation

The SJC sits at the John Adams Courthouse, One Pemberton Square, Boston, Massachusetts 02108, which also houses the Massachusetts Appeals Court and the Social Law Library. The legal citation for the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court is "Mass."

Landmark cases


The Court consists of a Chief Justice and six Associate Justices appointed by the Governor of Massachusetts with the consent of the Governor's Council.

The Justices hold office until the mandatory retirement age of seventy, like all other Massachusetts judges since 1972.

Current composition

Main article: List of justices of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court

The currently serving justices are:

Justice Born Joined Mandatory retirement Appointed by Law school
Kimberly S. Budd, Chief Justice (1966-10-23) October 23, 1966 (age 56) August 24, 2016 (as Associate Justice)
December 1, 2020 (as Chief Justice)
2036 Charlie Baker (R) Harvard
Frank Gaziano (1963-09-08) September 8, 1963 (age 59) August 18, 2016 2034 Charlie Baker (R) Suffolk
David A. Lowy 1959 or 1960 (age 63–64) August 24, 2016 2029/2030 Charlie Baker (R) Boston
Elspeth B. Cypher (1959-02-26) February 26, 1959 (age 64) March 31, 2017[9] 2029 Charlie Baker (R) Suffolk
Scott L. Kafker (1959-04-24) April 24, 1959 (age 64) August 21, 2017 2029 Charlie Baker (R) Chicago
Dalila Argaez Wendlandt 1968 or 1969 (age 53–54) December 4, 2020 2038/2039 Charlie Baker (R) Stanford
Serge Georges Jr. 1969 or 1970 (age 52–53)[10] December 16, 2020 2039/2040 Charlie Baker (R) Suffolk
Chief Justice Kimberly S. Budd
Associate Justice Frank Gaziano
Associate Justice David A. Lowy
Associate Justice Elspeth B. Cypher
Associate Justice Scott L. Kafker
Associate Justice Dalila Argaez Wendlandt
Associate Justice Serge Georges Jr.

Vacancy and pending nomination

Seat Seat last held by Vacancy reason Date of vacancy Nominee Date of nomination
Elspeth B. Cypher Retirement January 12, 2024[11]

Notable members


  1. ^ The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania disputes this, claiming to be eight years older.[5]


  1. ^ "Supreme Court - Courts - Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania". Retrieved 7 July 2017.
  2. ^ The Virginia Supreme Court was founded as a appellate Court in 1623; it became a Supreme Court in 1779; The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania was founded as a Provincial Court in 1684; it became a Supreme Court in 1722;the New York Supreme Court was established as the Supreme Court of Judicature by the Province of New York on May 6, 1691. It became the New York Supreme Court under the New York Constitutional Convention of 1846.
  3. ^ "Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts home page". Archived from the original on 2013-11-06. Retrieved 2013-10-16.
  4. ^ Eichholz, Alice (2004). Alice Eichholz (ed.). Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources (3rd Revised ed.). Ancestry Publishing. p. 316. ISBN 978-1593311667.
  5. ^ "About the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania – SCOPA Review". Archived from the original on 21 May 2017. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
  6. ^ Zobel, Hiller (1970). Boston Massacre, pp. 243–265
  7. ^ Zobel, pp. 269–286
  8. ^ Lowell, Delmar R., The Historic Genealogy of the Lowells of America from 1639 to 1899 (p 35); Rutland VT, The Tuttle Company, 1899; ISBN 978-0-7884-1567-8.
  9. ^ "Justice Margot Botsford retires from SJC". The Boston Globe. Archived from the original on 19 May 2017. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
  10. ^ Lisinski, Chris (December 17, 2020). "Randolph's Serge Georges sworn in to Supreme Judicial court". The Patriot Ledger. Retrieved January 7, 2021.
  11. ^ Smith, Tristan (June 12, 2023). "Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Justice Elspeth B. Cypher to retire". MassLive.

Works cited