Wayne and Jackie Budd spend significant time in their East Chop cottage all year round. Wayne is often seen walking a lot and getting coffee or lunch with good friends Elliott Hall, Bob Murphy and the late Joe Parham. Jackie is playing golf these days with friends Brent and Minnie Henry and Skip Griffin. Every summer they host Wayne’s three daughters Kristi, Kerri and Kim here on the Vineyard. The annual reunion this coming summer will be very special as they will be celebrating a significant change in Kim’s professional career.

This past week Gov. Charlie Baker nominated Kim to become the chief justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. Kim was appointed by Governor Baker to the state Supreme Judicial Court as an associate justice is 2016 coming from the superior court where she had served since 2009. This was an historic appointment in that Kim will be the first African American female to lead the high court. In some ways she follows in the footsteps of long time Vineyard resident of former chief justice Margaret Marshall who was appointed to court in 1996 by then Gov. Bill Weld and elevated to chief by former Gov. Paul Cellucci in 1999. She retired in 2010. Chief Marshall is very familiar with many on the Vineyard and was the keynote speaker at Union Chapel in July of 2013.

Soon to be Chief Budd hails from DNA that has exposed her to the law most of her life. Her father Wayne was the United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts before serving as the associate Attorney General of the United States. But the family ties to the judicial system also run through her husband Bill. Bill’s mother, Vineyard resident Ann Thompson, was nominated by President Jimmy Carter to a new seat on the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey in 1979. Judge Thompson was the first woman and African American to serve as a federal district court judge in New Jersey.

In nominating Kim, Governor Baker observed the following: “She’s always eager to collaborate and values collegiality, which is crucial to the functioning of any successful court. Her colleagues, litigants, and staff praise her as a dedicated listener, someone who treats everyone with dignity and brings intelligence and diligence to her research and her writing.”

Chief Justice Kim Budd’s appointment is a clear signal that all who petition the high court in Massachusetts, whether you come from a high station or a low station, regardless of your race or your gender, you will be treated fairly. All of Martha’s Vineyard is cheering her on and asking for blessings as she moves into the light of history.

Paradise on earth is living the Vineyard experience. Enjoy it as life is fleeting.