Margaret H. Marshall bigraphy, stories - American judge

Margaret H. Marshall : biography

September 1, 1944 -

Margaret Hilary Marshall (born September 1, 1944) was the 24th Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, and the first female to hold that position. She was Chief Justice from 1999 to 2010. On July 21, 2010, she announced her retirement.


Early life

Marshall was born in Newcastle, South Africa, the daughter of a steel executive. She attended University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa and was a leader of students who opposed the racist apartheid system. Marshall led a student organization for three years called the National Union of South African Students, which was dedicated to ending oppressive minority rule and achieving equality for all South Africans. According to Marshall, "There was no access to justice in South Africa...There were a few courageous barristers who agreed to represent people charged with political crimes, but, by and large, if you were a black South African, you had no justice. The death penalty was imposed in vastly disproportionate numbers. Many of the offenses were applicable to black South Africans only.". She moved to Boston, Massachusetts in 1964 and attended Harvard University (earning a master's degree in education in 1969) and Yale Law School. In 1984, she married then-New York Times columnist Anthony Lewis. It was her second marriage.

Legal career

From 1976 to 1989, she was an associate and a partner in private practice at the Boston law firm of Csaplar & Bok. From 1989 to 1992, she was a partner in the Boston law firm of Choate, Hall & Stewart. Also from 1991 to 1992, she was President of the Boston Bar Association, the oldest bar association in the United States. From 1992-1996, she was General Counsel to Harvard University.

Marshall was appointed to be an Associate Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in 1996 by Republican Governor William F. Weld. She was named as Chief Justice in September 1999 by Republican Governor Paul Cellucci, to begin her term on October 14, 1999. She is the second woman to serve on the Supreme Judicial Court, the oldest appellate court in the Western Hemisphere, and the first to serve as Chief Justice in its more than 300 year history.

In the course of her term, she wrote over 200 opinions. Marshall wrote the decision in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health that declared that the Massachusetts Constitution does not permit the state to deny citizens the right to same-sex marriage.

On July 21, 2010, Marshall announced her decision to retire from the Court, effective at the end of October. Marshall said her decision was prompted by a desire to spend more time with her husband, former New York Times columnist Anthony Lewis, who was suffering from Parkinson's disease.

Marshall formerly served as a member of the Yale Corporation, the governing body of Yale University.

Living octopus

Living octopus

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