The Flaschner Judicial Institute celebrates a group of trailblazing women who have served the Commonwealth as Judges.
The first women to serve as judges in Massachusetts were Emma Fall Schofield (Malden District Court) and Sadie Lipner Shulman (Dorchester District Court) who were appointed in 1930 by Governor Frank G. Allen. In 1959, Jennie Loitman Barron became the first woman appointed to the Superior Court. Judge Barron had previously served as a judge on the Municipal Court in Boston. Margaret Burnham was the first African-American woman appointed as a judge in Massachusetts when she joined the bench of the Boston Municipal Court in 1977. The following year, 1978, two other pioneering women were appointed to appellate courts in Massachusetts: Charlotte Anne Perretta was the first women appointed to the Appeals Court and Ruth Abrams, who previously served as a judge of the Superior Court, was the first woman appointed to the Supreme Judicial Court. Another milestone occurred in 1999, when Margaret H. Marshall became the 24th chief justice of the Supreme Judicial Court. More recently, in 2013, Geraldine Hines, who served as a judge of the Superior Court and as a justice of the Appeals Court, became the first African-American to serve on the Supreme Judicial Court. And, of course, in 2020, Justice Kimberly Budd became the first African-American Chief Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court.