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HBCU Alum becomes first African American chief justice of the state Supreme Judicial Court

Governor Deval Patrick announced this morning that he is nominating veteran Justice Roderick L. Ireland to be chief justice of the state Supreme Judicial Court, according to a source briefed on the nomination.

Ireland would be the first African-American chief justice of the state’s highest court. A Springfield native, the 64-year-old Ireland had already broken new ground as the first black justice to serve on the court when he was appointed in 1997.

Ireland, who was nominated originally to the court by former Republican Governor William F. Weld, is the most senior member on the bench of the oldest appellate court in the Western Hemisphere.