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Remarks by Justice David M. Borden
on the occasion of his Last Day
Hearing Cases as a Member of
the Supreme Court
May 18, 2007

Justice David M. BordenThank you, Chief Justice Rogers, Justice Norcott and Attorney Horton, for those most generous remarks. They remind me of what Lyndon Johnson is reported to have said about a very flattering introduction given for him. He said: "that was an introduction that my father would have appreciated, and my mother would have believed."

In response to Justice Norcott's note that the only time the Red Sox have won the world series since 1918 was when I was in Asia, it's true that Judy and I were in Thailand for our daughter, Katherine’s, wedding, and Justice Katz just reminded me that they probably won the world series because we were in Asia.

In thinking about what to say this morning, I started with the thought that I should give you the names and citations of all of the several hundred opinions that Chief Justice Rogers and Justice Norcott referred to, so that, after this ceremony, you could go right across the hall to the state library and look them up and read them, which I know you are eager to do. That was my first thought, but I rejected it, because it would cause too much of a crowd in the state library. My second thought was that, in contrast to the cases that Justice Norcott mentioned, at least I ought to read you a handful of my more memorable opinions on the law of underinsured motorist coverage and workers' compensation. But I rejected that, too, because I know you're already familiar with all of them.

My third thought was more simple, but more difficult to accomplish: to try to put into words what I’m feeling this morning--the last morning on which I’ll sit up here as a Supreme Court Justice--after more than seventeen years on this court.

My primary feeling is one of thankfulness and gratitude.

I’m grateful to Justice Katz, who, along with Holly Sellers, arranged this ceremony.

I’m grateful to my colleagues on this court, past and present--for their tolerance of my hypotheticals in oral argument--and for their willingness to listen to my arguments in conference, even when I became argumentative in expressing them. But mostly I’m grateful to my colleagues for their counsel, their wisdom and their collegiality--for their help, both in conference and in informal conversations in chambers, in thinking through the difficult and sensitive questions that present themselves to us here. I have been fortunate to serve with such wonderful colleagues as former Chief Justice Ellen Peters, and Chief Judge Billie DuPont of the Appellate Court, who are here today.

I’m grateful to all of my law clerks, present and past, who have helped me so much to do my job, and what's more, to do it well. They have helped immeasurably to keep my mind open to new ways of looking at old legal issues, and fresh viewpoints from which to address new legal issues.

I’m grateful to all of the legal support staff of the court--the clerk's office, the reporter's office, and the staff attorney's office. They have kept the business of the court, and of my chambers, going with efficiency and accuracy.

I’m grateful to all of the administrative staff of the court--present and past--particularly my secretaries, Karen Viklinetz and, before her, Nancy Jaeger. They have read my illegible handwriting, found the files I had misplaced, and more important, they have kept me organized.

I thank the IT staff, particularly Diane Harrington, who have tolerated my computer illiteracy and fixed the glitches I caused by hitting the wrong key.

I thank the maintenance staff of the court, who have fixed all the things I broke in my chambers, and the security staff of the court, who have kept us all safe.

I am particularly grateful to everyone on the second floor and associated offices--Judge Lavery and everyone who works for the chief court administrator--who gave me such loyal and dedicated support during this past year.

I hope I haven't left anyone out, but if I have, I apologize.

But mostly I am grateful to my wife, Judy, who is here this morning. Judy, will you please stand up? She is my best friend, my most trusted advisor and moral compass, my most accurate critic, and my own personal chief justice. Thank you, Judy.

It’s really hard for me to appreciate that I’ve been on this court for more than seventeen years, and that my service on the court will soon come to an end. As I’ve said many times in speaking of my Judicial career: I’ve awakened every morning and been eager to get to work--well, almost every morning. That's been equally true for the past seventeen years here. It's been a wonderful opportunity to be infallible--infallible, of course, because we're final.

It's been an immensely challenging and rewarding opportunity to discharge the responsibility of having the final word on questions of state constitutional law, on questions of major common law policy, and on questions of statutory interpretation--at least when the language of the statute has not been plain and unambiguous. (That’s an inside joke)--and to discharge that responsibility alongside hard-working and thoughtful colleagues who are committed to doing justice--and to do so while hearing cases in this beautiful courtroom.

I never enter this courtroom without feeling its beauty and its majesty--I never enter this courtroom without its reminding me of the importance of our task--to treat every case, every litigant and every advocate with the respect that they deserve--to do justice, to uphold the rule of law, and to decide the case before us without fear or favor.

This has been a tremendously rewarding and fulfilling seventeen years. To paraphrase the proverbial grade school student giving his first book report, who wrote: "It's a good book and I recommend it to all my friends," I say: "it's a great job, and I recommend it to all my friends."

Finally, I am so grateful to all of you for coming this morning. It is your presence here this morning, more than anything else, that makes this ceremony so memorable for me. You remind me of why I’m here, and why I will never forget this great court, this magnificent courtroom, and this wonderful occasion.

Thank you.

Remarks by Justice Norcott | Remarks by Chief Justice Rogers

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