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Calling her a “conservative justice” who knows the difference between the roles of judges and legislators, Governor Paul Cellucci on Wednesday nominated Superior Court Judge Martha B. Sosman to the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts. If confirmed by the Governor’s Council, Sosman will make Massachusetts the only state to currently have a majority of women on the state’s highest court. Sosman, 49, would be the fourth female justice of the seven-member Supreme Judicial Court (SJC). At her announcement at the State House Wednesday, Sosman — a former assistant U.S. attorney who once founded an all-woman law firm in Boston — said the work of a judge is both “a daunting and humbling task.” “Time flies when you are experiencing the challenges and unique rewards of a trial court judge,” Sosman said of her work on the Massachusetts Superior Court since 1993. There her judicial colleagues “trained me, taught me and supported me … they made me the judge I am today,” she said. LABEL ACCEPTED Of Cellucci calling her a “conservative justice,” she said, “I accept the label, and I’m proud of it. It’s important to remember I’m just a judge; no one has ever elected me to anything.” In answer to a question from the media on where she stands on abortion rights and the death penalty — both issues favored by the governor, which could come before the SJC — Sosman said, “I have lots of opinions on lots of things, but as a judge, I have to set aside my personal views on general subjects and consider specific cases only.” Cellucci said he anticipated the confirmation proceedings should take no more than a few weeks in the effort to fill a vacancy left by the impending retirement of SJC Justice Neil L. Lynch on June 25. LEAVING A LEGACY The governor acknowledged the appointment of four justices to the high court during his tenure in office as an important part of the legacy he leaves. “Judges may be there 20 years or more,” said Celluci, “so to appoint a majority of the SJC is a significant legacy.” He said Sosman’s nomination and any nomination he makes later this year to replace SJC Justice Ruth I. Abrams, who is retiring in December, is based on “merit first,” not gender. Besides Abrams, the other female SJC jurists are Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall and Justice Judith A. Cowin. Prior to her entry on the Superior Court, Sosman founded the all-female Boston law firm of Kern, Sosman, Hagerty, Roach & Carpenter in 1989, and specialized in civil litigation there for four years. She was assistant U.S. attorney in charge of the Civil Division from 1984 to 1989 and before that was an associate attorney at Foley, Hoag & Eliot in Boston from 1979 to 1984. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School and Middlebury College. Sosman’s strong background in civil litigation was cited as a factor in her selection for the SJC, according to Cellucci. Other finalists for the nomination were Superior Court Judges Margot Botsford and Daniel F. Toomey, and Boston attorney Cynthia J. Cohen of the law firm Meehan, Boyle & Cohen.

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