Baker expected to pick BMC judge Georges for last SJC slot

Nominee presided over drug court for four years

Baker expected to pick BMC judge Georges for last SJC slot

BOSTON — Gov. Charlie Baker will nominate Serge Georges Jr. as a justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, according to a source in the administration, capping off a string of judicial selections that will solidify Baker’s significant mark on the 328-year-old high court.

Georges currently serves as an associate justice on the Boston Municipal Court sitting in the Dorchester Division, a position he was nominated to by Gov. Deval Patrick in 2013. From 2014 to 2018, Georges presided over the Dorchester Drug Court. Before becoming a judge, he focused on commercial and business litigation, criminal defense, and professional licensure and liability during a solo practice.

Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito are planning to introduce Georges and discuss his nomination during a State House press conference scheduled for 1 p.m.

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Already, Baker has nominated Justice Kimberly Budd to step into the chief justice role and has tapped Appeals Court Judge Dalila Argaez Wendlandt to be elevated to the SJC bench. The latest flurry of nominations -- Baker made three SJC nominations in a similarly compressed time frame in 2016 -- came as Justice Barbara Lenk approaches the mandatory retirement age early next month and after the September death of Chief Justice Ralph Gants.

Gants and Lenk were the only two justices on the SJC not nominated to those positions by Baker, and now the second-term Republican is poised to have seven of his own selections sitting on the SJC.

The Governor’s Council, which vets and confirms Baker’s nominees, will hold a hearing on Wendlant’s confirmation Wednesday morning and is also expected to vote on Budd’s promotion to chief. The council could schedule a confirmation hearing for Georges when it meets Wednesday.

“Our hope would be that if we get a couple of really good people in front of the Governor’s Council shortly, they’ll be able to find a way to make the schedule work between now and the end of the year,” Baker said recently about the pending nominations. “I know the folks that are currently on the court would like to see us nominate folks and try to get it done by the end of the calendar year. That’s the goal.”

Following Lenk’s retirement, the most senior justice on the SJC will be Justice Frank Gaziano, who was nominated by Baker and took the oath of office Aug. 18, 2016. Budd and Justice David Lowy were sworn in Aug. 24, 2016. Justice Elspeth Cypher was elevated from the Appeals Court to the SJC on March 31, 2017 and former Appeals Court Chief Justice Scott Kafker joined the SJC on Aug. 21, 2017.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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