BOSTON (AP) — Justice Kimberly Budd was unanimously confirmed Wednesday as the chief justice of Massachusetts’ highest court. Budd, 54, becomes the first Black woman to serve as chief justice of the Supreme Judicial Court, which traces its history to the late 17th century.

She replaces former Chief Justice Ralph Gants, who died in September. Her nomination was confirmed by a 7-0 vote by the Governor’s Council.

Republican Gov. Charlie Baker, who nominated Budd, called her “an exceptional and dignified jurist that has served on the Supreme Judicial Court with fairness and integrity.”

Budd, a former federal prosecutor, has served on the court since 2016. The Newton resident had previously served on the Massachusetts Superior Court.

Earlier in her career, she prosecuted cases in the major crimes and drug units as an assistant U.S. attorney before going on to work in the general counsel’s office at Harvard University.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley described Budd as “a well-respected, thoughtful and dedicated public servant with a brilliant legal career.”

“As the first Black woman to lead the SJC in the court’s centuries-old history, I have every confidence that she will meet and exceed the history-making expectations her service on the Supreme Court brings,” Pressley said in a news release.

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