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Governor’s Council Approves Duffly For Mass. SJC

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Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court nominee Fernande "Nan" Duffly. (Photo credit: Matt Bennett/Governor's Office)

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court nominee Fernande “Nan” Duffly. (Photo credit: Matt Bennett/Governor’s Office)

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BOSTON (AP) – Appeals Court Associate Justice Fernande “Nan” Duffly endured a close vote Wednesday to take her place as the first Asian-American member of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.

Newly elected Councilor Jennie Caissie, a Republican from Oxford, broke the suspense by declaring she would support the 61-year-old nominee. The nine-member panel ended up voting 4-3.

The outcome was far from certain.

During a six-hour confirmation hearing last week, Duffly faced stern questioning from Councilors Thomas Merrigan and Christopher Iannella, who accused her of being an activist judge and unnecessarily removing children from their fathers in divorce cases.

Merrigan talks to WBZ NewsRadio 1030 producer Jon Maclean before the vote

They joined Councilor Charles Cipollini in voting against Duffly’s nomination.

Meanwhile, Councilor Mary-Ellen Manning recused herself.

Yet Councilor Terrence Kennedy publicly proclaimed he would vote for Duffly, and in the end, he was joined by Councilors Kelly Timilty, Marilyn Petitto Devaney and Caissie.

Kennedy talks to WBZ NewsRadio 1030 producer Jon MacLean before the vote

Caissie said before casting her vote that probate and family cases defy easy analysis because they are based on the specific facts of each case.

“When you read the facts in the cases, she applied the law in each one of those cases,” Caissie said. “She’s a law-and-order judge. She puts public safety and victims rights first.”

Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray only votes to break ties.

(TM and © Copyright 2010 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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