The Massachusetts Governor’s Council, also known as the Executive Council, is composed of eight individuals who are elected every two years, one each from eight councillor districts.  Each district consists of the entirety of five contiguous Massachusetts Senate districts.

District map

Cities & towns in the 3rd Governor’s Council District. Includes five State Senate districts.

District 3 consists of the Third Middlesex, Fourth Middlesex, First Middlesex & Norfolk, Middlesex & Worcester, and Second Suffolk & Middlesex Senate Districts.

This include the cities & towns of:

Acton, Arlington, Ayer, Bedford, Belmont, Billerica, Boston (Ward 4, Pcts. 2, 5-10, Ward 5, Pcts. 2, 6-10, Ward 21, Pcts. 1-3, 5, 8-16, Ward 22, Pcts 3, 4, 6-13), Boxborough, Brookline, Burlington, Carlisle, Chelmsford, Concord, Harvard, Hudson, Lexington, Lincoln, Littleton, Marlborough, Maynard, Newton, Northborough (Pct. 3), Shirley, Southborough, Stow, Sudbury , Waltham, Watertown, Wellesley (Pcts. A, C-E, H), Westborough, Weston, Woburn

The Council meets to act on issues such as payments from the state treasury, criminal pardons and commutations, and approval of gubernatorial appointments of various individuals, including judges, clerk-magistrates, notaries and justices of the peace.

The council was created by the Constitution of Massachusetts as adopted in 1780. Part the Second, Chapter II, Section I, Article IX of the Massachusetts Constitution specifically calls for the council to give their advice and consent to the Executive upon his nomination of a candidate to judicial office.

At this time, the Judicial Nominating Commission (JNC), a non-partisan, non-political and non-compensated Commission composed of twenty-one distinguished volunteers, appointed by the Governor from a cross-section of the Commonwealth’s diverse population, reviews and then forwards a list of potential judicial nominees to the Governor for his consideration.  Individuals recommended for nomination are then transmitted to the Governor’s Chief Legal Counsel for his discretionary review, interview and further due diligence.  Any of these individuals may be considered for nomination by the Governor for any judicial office for a period of eighteen months after the date of the recommendation.

Upon nomination by the Governor, a nominee’s public hearing before the Governor’s Council is scheduled.  The GC has its own questionnaire and ability to interview and review nominees.  Hearings occur in the council chambers, located within the Governor’s office, and are attended by anyone who wishes to be heard regarding a candidate’s nomination. Adverse witnesses may appear and will be heard by the council.  This is the only time that the general public can have any input into the judicial nominee process.

Governor Michael Dukakis started the Judicial Nominating Commission by executive order in 1975, mandating that less than 50% of its members could be lawyers. It is now made up entirely of lawyers and also provides no opportunity for general public input.

The Governor’s Council is the only opportunity for public input in the nomination and confirmation process.