Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Decisions

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court is one of the oldest state supreme courts in the U.S. It was known as the Superior Court of Judicature when it was founded in 1692. Three of its chief justices have served on the U.S. Supreme Court. The Court has the authority to review appeals of criminal and civil cases, and it holds the unusual power to provide advisory opinions. The executive branch or the legislative branch may request these opinions. The site of the Court is the John Adams Courthouse in Boston.

There are no specific requirements for becoming a justice on the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. A justice simply must be under 70 years old and maintain good behavior while serving on the Court. The Governor of Massachusetts appoints each of the seven justices on the Court, although they also must be approved by the executive council. In contrast to the supreme courts in many other states, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court does not impose term limits on its justices. Once they are appointed, they may serve until they turn 70, at which age they are required to retire. The same rules apply to the appointment and tenure of the Chief Justice as to the six Associate Justices.

However, a judge may face removal from the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court for reasons related to misconduct or a disability. The Massachusetts Commission on Judicial Conduct will investigate any complaint of misconduct by a justice, and it will hold a formal hearing and provide a recommendation on whether the justice should be removed or face other discipline. A justice who engages in misconduct also may face removal by impeachment in the Massachusetts House of Representatives and conviction in the Massachusetts Senate. In other situations, the Governor may remove a justice with the approval of the Governor’s Council and with the joint address of the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Browse Opinions From the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court

Recent Decisions From the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
O’Leary v. Contributory Retirement Appeal Board
Date: August 11, 2022
Docket Number: SJC-13229
Commonwealth v. Grier  
Date: August 9, 2022
Docket Number: SJC-11386

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed Defendant's convictions of murder in the first degree and unlawful possession of a firearm, holding that Defendant's arguments on appeal were without merit. Specifically, the Supreme…

Commonwealth v. Fan  
Date: August 9, 2022
Docket Number: SJC-13207

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed Defendant's convictions, holding that a defendant may be convicted of human trafficking under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 265, 50(a) only if the jury finds that the defendant knowingly…

Cavanagh v. Cavanagh  
Date: August 8, 2022
Docket Number: SJC-13222

Justia Opinion Summary: In this post divorce dispute over child support and alimony, the Supreme Judicial Court held that a provision of the Alimony Reform Act, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 208, 53(c)(2), allows for the concurrent award of child support…

Willitts v. Brogan  
Date: August 1, 2022
Docket Number: SJC-13267

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the single justice of the court treating Petitioner's letter filed in the county court as a petition pursuant to Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 211, 3 and denying it, holding that…

Commonwealth v. Moreau  
Date: July 29, 2022
Docket Number: SJC-13168

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Judicial Court reversed the decision of the trial court convicting Defendant of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol (OUI) and negligent operation of a motor vehicle, holding that…

Commonwealth v. Walker
Date: July 29, 2022
Docket Number: SJC-13189
Haven Center, Inc. v. Town of Bourne  
Date: July 28, 2022
Docket Number: SJC-13198

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Judicial Court held that the Town of Bourne properly adopted an amendment to a general bylaw banning recreational marijuana establishments from the community and that the ban was valid. After the amendment…

Doe v. Roman Catholic Bishop of Springfield  
Date: July 28, 2022
Docket Number: SJC-13219

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court denying Defendants' motion to dismiss this suit alleging sexual abuse by leadership of the Roman Catholic Bishop of Springfield that Plaintiff…

Committee to Protect Access to Quality Dental Care v. Secretary of the Commonwealth  
Date: July 28, 2022
Docket Number: SJC-13313

Justia Opinion Summary: In this case concerning the printing and distribution of an initiative petition concerning the establishment of a medical loss ratio for dental insurance the Supreme Judicial Court granted the Secretary's motion to…

Archer v. Grubhub, Inc.  
Date: July 27, 2022
Docket Number: SJC-13228

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Judicial Court held that delivery drivers that delivered takeout food and various prepackaged goods from local restaurants, convenience stores, and delicatessens to Grubhub, Inc. do not fall within a residual…

Linardon v. Secretary of Housing and Economic Development  
Date: July 26, 2022
Docket Number: SJC-13255

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of a single justice of the court denying Plaintiff's emergency complaint for relief in the nature of mandamus, holding that the single justice neither erred nor abused his…

Linardon v. WoodSpring Suites Boston MA Saugus, LLC
Date: July 26, 2022
Docket Number: SJC-13256
City of Boston v. Conservation Commission of Quincy  
Date: July 25, 2022
Docket Number: SJC-13244

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Judicial Court held that the Department of Environmental Protection's (DEP) superseding order of conditions allowing the City of Boston's bridge project to proceed superseded the decision of the Conservation…

The opinions published on Justia State Caselaw are sourced from individual state court sites. These court opinions may not be the official published versions, and you should check your local court rules before citing to them. We make no warranties or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained on this site, or the information linked to on the state site.