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Gov. Council Approves MA High Court Nominee Ireland

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Senior Associate Justice Roderick Ireland remarks on his nomination to serve as the Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Court. (Photo credit: Matt Bennett/Governor's Office)

Senior Associate Justice Roderick Ireland remarks on his nomination to serve as the Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Court. (Photo credit: Matt Bennett/Governor’s Office)

BOSTON (AP) — The Governor’s Council has approved the nomination of Roderick Ireland as chief justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.

The panel voted 7-0 to back Gov. Deval Patrick’s nomination of the 65-year-old Ireland on Wednesday. One member of the panel was absent.

Ireland was appointed to the high court in 1997 by former Gov. William Weld.

 WBZ News Radio’s Carl Stevens reports

He was the first black justice in the 318-year history of the court and would be its first black chief justice. He replaces Margaret Marshall, who left her office for the final time Tuesday night.

The court gained national attention in 2003 when it voted to make Massachusetts the first state to legalize gay marriage.

Ireland was part of the 4-3 majority.

At 65, Ireland can serve as chief justice for just five years before reaching the court’s mandatory retirement age.

(© Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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