“Chief Justice Gants was a wonderful person who treated everyone with respect and dignity. He was a brilliant, thoughtful jurist who was fair to every litigant who appeared before him,” Benedetti said. “We offer our sincere condolences to his family and friends,” said Anthony J. Benedetti, chief counsel of the Committee for Public Counsel Services.
Gants was born in New York and studied at Harvard College, Cambridge University and Harvard Law School. He was an assistant U.S. attorney, where he served as chief of the public corruption division, and worked in private practice before being appointed to the bench in 1997 by then-Gov. William Weld, a Republican.
He served more than 11 years as an associate justice of the Massachusetts Superior Court and spent a year as administrative justice of the Superior Court’s Business Litigation Session in 2008. In 2009, he was appointed to the Supreme Judicial Court by Patrick.
Five years later, he was nominated to serve as chief justice after Chief Justice Roderick Ireland retired. Gants was awarded the Great Friend of Justice Award in 2017 by the Massachusetts Bar Foundation, the 2016 Haskell Cohn Award for Distinguished Judicial Service and the Boston Bar Association Citation of Judicial Excellence.
When the coronavirus pandemic shut down businesses and courts statewide, Gants said at the time, “We will get through this, both as a commonwealth and as a court system, whether it be in weeks or months, but it will not be pretty,” he said in March. The goal is to “somehow keep the wheels of justice turning in the midst of this frightening pandemic.”