This year could indicate a political shift for the state's highest court, according to Northeastern Law Professor and WGBH News Legal Analyst Daniel Medwed. Five of the seven sitting justices on the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts were appointed by Republican Governor Charlie Baker. Of the five appointees, four are former prosecutors, which could result in the judges sympathizing with the side of law enforcement in certain cases, Medwed says.
This is especially noteworthy this year, Medwed adds, as the state will consider a number of criminal justice reforms, and the SJC has several criminal law cases on its horizon.
The SJC holds oral arguments on apellate cases during the first full week of each month from September through May every year, addressing cases that have exhausted their options in the lower two tiers of Massachusetts' system. The justices issue oral arguments upon the first pass and typically issue opinions in cases 130 days after oral arguments.
Click the audio player above to listen to the full conversation between Joe Mathieu and Daniel Medwed.