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Fund set up to carry on work of late Mass. Supreme Court Chief Justice Ralph Gants

“Ralph wore his heart out trying to rid the criminal justice system of systemic racism, improve access to justice and implement criminal justice reforms," his wife, Northeastern University School of Law Professor Deborah Ramirez, said in a statement.

Governor Deval Patrick (L) applauds Ralph D. Gants, at a press conference Patrick held to announce that he is nominating Gants to the position of Chief Justice at the State House in Boston, Massachusetts April 17, 2014. (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff)

BOSTON (AP) — A new fund has been established to carry on late Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph Gants’ legacy and commitment to justice, racial equity and criminal justice reform.

The Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants Access to Justice Fund has already raised about $100,000, according to a statement from the Massachusetts Bar Association.

Gants, who died unexpectedly in September at age 65, devoted his six years as chief justice to ensuring that the court system worked for people of all backgrounds and income levels.

After the death of George Floyd sparked a nationwide movement for racial justice in May, Gants and his colleagues issued a letter urging legal professionals to help eliminate systemic barriers to universal equity under the law.

“Ralph wore his heart out trying to rid the criminal justice system of systemic racism, improve access to justice and implement criminal justice reforms,” his wife, Northeastern University School of Law Professor Deborah Ramirez, said in a statement.

The fund is a way of continuing his work, she said.

The fund is a collaboration involving the Access to Justice Fund Advisory Committee, made up of Gants’ family and close friends; the Massachusetts Bar Association; and the Massachusetts Bar Foundation.

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