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Patrick Expected To Nominate Marshall Successor From Inside The Court 06:30
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Margaret Marshall, chief justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, and Justice John Greaney, now retired, listen to lawyers' arguments May 4, 2006, in Boston. (AP)
Margaret Marshall, chief justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, and Justice John Greaney, now retired, listen to lawyers' arguments May 4, 2006, in Boston. (AP)

The longest serving justice on the state's highest court says a newcomer is unlikely to replace retiring Chief Justice Margaret Marshall on the bench.

Former Justice John Greaney told WBUR's Bob Oakes that Gov. Deval Patrick is likely to tap one of the six judges currently sitting on the Supreme Judicial Court for the leadership position.

"In my memory only one governor deviated from that and appointed someone outside the court itself to be the chief justice," Greaney said. "So the probability is very strong, very high that he will elevate one of the associate justices."

In addition to other names floated early, including Ralph Gants — who replaced Greaney after he retired in 2008-- and Margot Botsford, Greaney says Associate Justice Roderick Ireland should be among those Patrick could consider for the position.

"Justice Ireland ... is the only African-American sitting on the court," Greaney said. "And I think if he was inclined or interested in the position, the governor would certainly consider him as well."

The governor, speaking on the phone Thursday from the Middle East, where he’s visiting Massachusetts troops deployed there, said he wants someone with the same legal “touch” as Justice Marshall.

“I want the judge obviously to be respectful of the text and history of our state constitution, but also understand how people really live their lives,” Patrick said.

The governor's office says they're still reviewing candidates.

This program aired on July 23, 2010.

Bob Oakes Twitter Host, Morning Edition
Bob Oakes has been WBUR's Morning Edition anchor since 1992.

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