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January 13, 2013

Your view: Letters to the editor

Service should be no bar to judicial post

To the editor:

Some of our Massachusetts judges and the Governor’s Council would do well to remember that the greatest jurist that the commonwealth ever produced, United States Associate Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., when asked what his most significant public service had been towards the end of a very long life, answered without hesitation, “As a Captain in the Union Army during the Civil War.”

If Justice Holmes were alive today, he would rejoice in the fact that there was one “former member” of the Governor’s Council, Mary-Ellen Manning, who had the intestinal fortitude to make noise when some of our justices apparently wanted to deny Roxbury Judge and United States Marines Reserve Major Shannon Frison advancement to the Superior Court because, “... her military duty would interfere with her judicial responsibilities and ... these justices complained that she did not ‘reciprocate’ when they helped out with her case load during her tours of active military duty as a judge advocate officer.”

To his great credit, Gov. Deval Patrick is resubmitting her nomination, emphasizing his support.

As for those justices who voiced their complaints — in the least, they demonstrate contempt for our federal law. The council’s decision not to allow Major Frison to respond to these “complaints” is disgraceful, embarrassing, inexcusable, and unacceptable.

More importantly to many of us, however, is their contempt for the 1-2 percent of those in our country who, as a group, are supporting our worldwide deployments and serving in the longest war in our nation’s history with multiple deployments and long exposures to hostile fire. Collectively, they have incurred more casualties from suicide than from enemy fire. Our military personnel, particularly activated reservists and guardsmen, have already “more than reciprocated” by defending us all.

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