Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants and the Hidden Truth About Bill Bulger

Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants died on September 14, 2020, at age 65. He suffered a heart attack on September 4, went to the hospital where he was treated with two stents, made a  decent initial recovery to the extent he planned on returning to work in a limited manner within days, and then something went wrong. May he rest in peace.

I met him once. I was standing outside the federal courthouse in Boston the summer before last talking to an old colleague, Sarah Hartry. I was attending the memorial services for Judge Joseph Tauro. As he approached Sarah waved at him and he walked over. She introduced him to me as Ralph Gants. I knew I had heard the name before but could not place it. I said hello. We exchanged a few pleasant words. He seemed like a nice guy. He continued on. I asked her what does he do. She told me. I felt chagrined not having immediately known it when I heard his name.

People who did know him were quoted in yesterday’s Globe. One, Robert Cordy, sent and email to the Globe saying.: “We served in the US attorney’s office together in the 1980s and I have always had the highest regard for him as a person, a lawyer and a judge who cared deeply about ensuring that our system of justice was indeed just and fair to everyone.”  Governor Charles Baker said in a statement:  “In his decisions and in his role as the leader of the Commonwealth’s judicial branch, he always worked to promote the public good. His legacy as a judge and as Chief Justice is profound, and he will be sorely missed. ”

Anthony Benedetti, head of the Committee for Public Counsel Services, said: “a wonderful person who treated everyone with respect and dignity. He was a brilliant, thoughtful jurist who was fair to every litigant who appeared before him.” Carol Rose, executive director of the ACLU of Massachusetts, offered: “He was a champion of access to justice for all communities in Massachusetts, a fierce believer in the need to address racial disparities in the criminal legal system, and a compassionate listener to every person who came before the court. His legacy is a testament to his wisdom, his kindness, and his commitment to equal justice under the law”

A “decades long” friend George Bachrach, founder of the Civic Action Project said when he was being considered for the position that, “I told him he was the best choice, but he offered the Governor absolutely no political benefit in terms of race, gender or geography. The only basis for his nomination would have to be on merit, a rarity.”

Attorney General Maura Healey said Gants made “incomparable and lasting contributions to the rule of law and the betterment of society. As Chief Justice, he focused on how the legal system affects people’s lives, and consistently worked to expand access to justice and racial equity.

It seemed he received universal praise as an upright, ethical man interested in equal justice for all.

So where does Bill Bulger come into play. The Boston Globe  alleged Bulger was involved in wrongdoing with respect to 75 State Street. The Boston U.S. attorney Frank McNamara investigated Bulger’s involvement in the matter and found no wrongdoing. The Boston Globe demanded the investigation be done again. The U.S. Attorney General Thornburgh ordered the acting Boston U.S. Attorney Jeremiah O’Sullivan to redo the investigation. After it was done O’Sullivan announced that the case was again being closed since there was no evidence of criminal wrongdoing.

You may recall O’Sullivan was much castigated by the writers at the Boston Globe. others in Boston media, and especially the House of Representatives Committee on Government reform for his decision. They all suggested that somehow O’Sulllivan was not on the level when he came to that conclusion. Much would be done to undermine O’Sullivan’s reputation trying to show a link between him and Bulger and suggestions that  he let Bulger off the hook.

How does this related to Justice Gants. Congressman Tierney asked O’Sullivan, trying to show some wrongdoing on O’Sullivan’s behalf (it turned out the FBI supervisor in charge of the investigation was John Morris who admitted taking bribes from Whitey Bulger – but not pointed out was he was no friend of Bulger having told the Boston Globe reporters Whitey was an FBI informant -), “When you decided to close the case, did you rely on the word of the FBI?”

O’Sullivan replied:  “Yes, but I relied primarily on the two investigating Assistant U.S. Attorneys who had done most of the work and interviewed most of the witnesses in that case. I relied on Ralph Gantz (sic) and Alex Leaks.”  He went on to say that both men interviewed Bill Bulger themselves.

Ralph Gants a man of high esteem who went on to become a superior court judge, justice and chief justice of the Supreme Judicial Court participated in making the decision on Bill Bulger’s involvement in 75 State Street. His background, his commitment to the truth, and his love of doing the right thing should forever put to rest the idea of any wrongdoing by Bill Bulger.


11 thoughts on “Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants and the Hidden Truth About Bill Bulger

  1. I am still looking for a judge or lawyer to help
    me develop a curriculum to teach students in grades 1-12 law.

    By the time they graduate I would expect them to pass the Bar Exam.

    In other pro bono news……..

    Pro-Trump group enlists teens in campaign likened to ‘troll farm,’ drawing rebukes

    Popular 175-year-old science publication endorses presidential candidate for the first time

    SEP 15, 2020 AT 6:55 PM

  2. I used to see him at Cambridge Court when we were both working there and later worked under his leadership Of the Courts. I disagreed with many of his judicial opinions on the SJC, but there’s no doubt he was a very kind, smart, genial – even fun – man, whose heart was in the right place. I agree with Judge Cordy’s remarks entirely. His untimely passing is very sad. RIP

  3. What 75 State St. was to Sen. Bulger Russian collusion is to Trump. Two invented misdeeds. Two nothing burgers. 2. Did the Obama cop bashing and the anti cop invective at the Democratic convention in July lead to the assaults and shootings of Police? All one heard at the DNC was BLM propaganda and defund the Police. Sen Harris praised the Democrat mayors for cutting Police budgets. She is dangerous to public safety,

    1. Your twisted and hateful political comments are not welcomed on this page honoring a very honorable Chief Justice and great loss for our State.

    2. I agree 100% with NC. The Media’s (Boston Globe’s) hateful rhetoric against Bill Bulger is analogous to the Media’s hateful rhetoric against Donald Trump. And clearly the Leftist’s hateful anti-police rhetoric and Democrats joining in the “defund the police” rhetoric has led to hostile, violent actions against the police nationwide.
      Justice Gants respected the Freedom of Speech and dissenting opinions.
      No one appointed Nancy C. the opinions editor on this page. It is her “heckler’s veto” post that I find unwarranted and objectionable. There was nothing twisted or hateful in NC’s post.

      1. Same old same old. Nothing wrong with Trump or his cronies. I cannot believe that you BC graduates can accept a morally deprived man as president of this great country. Never trumps fault. Lies,lies, and more lies from his corrupt cabinet. I give up. I have been reading this blog for some time . Same people responding.Same old crap.

        1. Bully,bully. This civil war is going to be most uncivil. I hate to agree with Khalid but it is starting. And this government from bottom to top or the people that support it haven’t the brains or balls to do anything about it. You can watch a great athlete and when they don’t have their A-game they can fall back on other abilities. They can adjust and figure out the best place to put their efforts. This administration has nothing to fall back on. They have been too busy pounding their sunken chests to develop a structure of strength to support this floundering mess of a republic. Goodbye, America. Thanks for nothing, Bonespurs.

          1. I’m not worried about a civil war. Khalid really doesn’t believe one is coming. The biggest reason we won’t have one is Trump is a moral coward. All hat, or I should say all hair, and big talk. At the first sign of trouble where he might be called upon to do something personally he will be found in his bunker sucking his thumb.

      2. Sadly MTC wrote a nice tribute on the passing of what appears to be a decent Judge and man that you bring up despicable trump.
        SMH Can’t even honor a good man

        For the record, Billy Bulger wasn’t playing footsie with dictators across the globe and responsible for 180,000 dead Americans and sending immigrant women for hysterectomies without their consent, is hardly a comparison. I have a list if you want more of Trump’s bastardly deeds
        But sadly if condemning soldiers before the election didn’t change your mind on who Trump is and now even the current events haven’t move you either, it’s not Trump that’s the huge character flaws but you need a good look in the mirror at your own values.

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