“Third time’s the charm” is a proverb, not necessarily a legal doctrine. Even so, the team tasked by Gov. Maura Healey to help fill an upcoming vacancy on the state’s highest court is again extending the application deadline for people interested in becoming a justice on the Supreme Judicial Court.
Justice Elspeth Cypher, the second openly gay member appointed to the SJC and one of three women currently on the court, is expected to retire in January, just before she turns 65.
The planned departure, announced in June, creates an opportunity for Healey to name someone to the seven-member court that is currently made up entirely of her predecessor Charlie Baker’s judicial picks. But Healey is apparently giving the pick plenty of due diligence.
The application deadline had already been extended twice, to October 30. When CommonWealth Beacon inquired about the deadline having come and gone this week, a Healey spokeswoman said the deadline will be extended another 30 days.
In a September 13 executive order, Healey set up a SJC nominating commission. Its members are Healey chief of staff Kate Cook; Paige Scott Reed, the governor’s chief legal counsel; Geraldine Hines, who retired from the SJC in 2017; Mary Strother, senior vice president and general counsel at Northeastern University; and Marty Murphy, a trial lawyer and former prosecutor.
“We have extended the deadline to ensure we have as large and diverse of an applicant pool as possible,” said Karissa Hand, the governor’s spokesperson.
Make music – and policy
If quizzed on what Michelle Wu and John Legend have in common, close followers of the Boston mayor might say a penchant for piano. Though hardly in the same league as the celebrated singer-songwriter, Wu delivered what was considered a more than serviceable rendition of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21 earlier this year at Symphony Hall.
A far more obscure connection between the two is that both did stints at the Boston Consulting Group. More than 20 years ago, Legend worked on mergers and drug licensing at the firm.
It’s not a huge leap from management consulting to public policy. Which is what found Legend sharing a stage with Wu this week at a Boston conference on ways the philanthropic sector can aid policymakers.
Legend is involved with FUSE Corps, a national nonprofit that places fellows in city government offices around the country, focusing on a variety of issues. “We recruit and hire and fund these fellows, and they’re able to work on projects that are priorities for the mayor, but may not fit into the normal staff structure of the city government,” Legend told the audience on Wednesday.
In Boston, a FUSE Corps fellow recently worked in the mayor’s office of housing, and looked at how two- or three-family homes could be retrofitted and more energy efficient. “We were only able to do this because of the partnership and introduction through philanthropy,” Wu said.
The technical and financial resources the program can bring to City Hall allow officials to “zoom out and think proactively” while juggling the day-to-day need to put out fires, sometimes literal ones, said Wu.
Eagle-eyed Orange Line riders may have noticed what look like brightly colored zip ties between the new subway cars over the past year. The ties are there, for now, to stop people who are blind or low-vision from mistaking the space between cars as an open door and stepping off of the platform in between cars.
Subway trains are required to have vision barriers for that purpose. No, zip ties aren’t usually the answer.
Vision barriers for the new Orange Line trains were designed into the specifications of the cars, MBTA officials said, but the barriers were catching on each other.
The bands are “a temporary solution to keep the cars’ barriers separated when an Orange Line train is operating on tight curves,” MBTA spokesperson Joe Pesaturo said in a statement in March. “Prototyping a more permanent solution on new Orange Line cars delivered last month,” he said, the T and the Chinese company making the new subway cars “redesigned the end gates and strengthened the strap material.”
About half a year later, the bands are being replaced with permanent redesigned end gates and strengthened strap material. MBTA spokesperson Lisa Battiston said personnel were nearly half way through the process of retrofitting the cars in October.