Joseph R. Nolan, justice on Supreme Judicial Court for 14 years, dead at 87

Joseph R. Nolan, a justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court for 14 years, died Tuesday, according to the Stanton Funeral Service in Watertown. He was 87.

Appointed by Governor Ed King in 1981, Justice Nolan was considered one of the more conservative members of the bench during his tenure. The Belmont resident, who served as an appellate judge and an assistant district attorney in Suffolk County before his nomination, was an ardent opponent of abortion rights.

After leaving the bench in 1995 when he reached the mandatory retirement age of 70, Justice Nolan served as the president of the Catholic Lawyers’ Guild of Boston. He also actively campaigned in 2008 to have a question that would have banned gay marriage in the state placed on the ballot.


A funeral Mass will be said at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at St. Joseph Church in Belmont.