I’m so sorry to have this news to share, as relayed to the MA Right to Counsel Coalition by Annette Duke of Mass. Law Reform Institute. Sentiments shared by us all:
We were shocked and deeply saddened to learn that Massachusetts lost a true leader and humanitarian in our justice community yesterday. The sudden passing of Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants has sent shock waves through our community. https://www.boston.com/news/local-news/2020/09/14/ralph-gants-death
As many of you know, in 2019 Chief Justice Gants wrote a seminal decision on the challenges that unrepresented tenants face in eviction proceedings. He recognized the stress that facing an eviction entails and how complicated and fast-moving the procedures are. In October 2019, he publicly endorsed the right to counsel in his State of the Judiciary speech, SJC Chief Justice Ralph Gants endorses right to a lawyer for tenants and landlords in eviction cases.
A few weeks ago, he convened key stakeholders to bring their collective thinking together to address how to be ready for when the eviction moratorium ends.
Chief Justice Gants was a strategic thinker and a visionary leader. He knew what questions to ask and when. We will miss his wisdom, his kindness, and his determination that justice is rendered fairly and equitably for all.
Our thoughts are with his family.