Gov. Deval Patrick is elevating Supreme Judicial Court Justice Ralph Gants to serve as chief justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.
Gants will succeed Roderick Ireland as chief justice, who announced last month that he would be retiring in July.
If Patrick's council approves the nomination, he would then be in position to name a new associate justice to the seven-member court.
Gants was appointed to the state's high court by Patrick in 2009 after having served as a superior court judge since 1997.
He is a one-time federal prosecutor who also worked as a special assistant under former FBI Director William Webster.
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