Barbara A. Lenk
|Associate Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court|
|Assumed office |
June 8, 2011
|Nominated by||Deval Patrick|
|Preceded by||Judith A. Cowin|
|Judge of the Massachusetts Appeals Court|
June 20, 1995 – June 8, 2011
|Nominated by||William Weld|
|Associate Justice of the Massachusetts Superior Court|
1993 – June 20, 1995
|Nominated by||William Weld|
|Born||December 2, 1950|
Queens, New York
|Alma mater||Fordham University (B.A.) |
Yale University (Ph.D)
Harvard Law School (J.D.)
Barbara A. Lenk (born December 2, 1950) is an Associate Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. On April 4, 2011, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick nominated her to that position and she was confirmed by the Governor's Council on May 4, 2011. She took the oath of office on June 8.
Early life and career
Justice Lenk was born in Queens, New York, to a poor family. Her parents were a bookbinder and a housekeeper. Her first language was Polish. She received a Bachelor of Arts magna cum laude from Fordham University in 1972, a Doctor of Philosophy in political philosophy from Yale University in 1978, and a Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School in 1979. Upon graduation, she joined the Boston law firm of Brown, Rudnick, Freed & Gesmer and was a partner there for six years. Her practice focused on civil litigation, with a specialty in First Amendment issues.
In 1993, Massachusetts Governor William Weld, a Republican, named her to the state's Superior Court. She served there until Weld appointed her to the Appeals Court, where she began her service on June 20, 1995. When nominated to serve on the Supreme Judicial Court, Justice Lenk was the longest serving member of the Appeals Court.
In 2017, Justice Lenk found that the federal Stored Communications Act did not prevent the personal representatives of a deceased person from accessing his emails. In July 2017, Lenk reported to the court the case in which it unanimously held that the commonwealth's law enforcement could not hold a prisoner solely on the authority of a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainer.
Justice Lenk has served on the Board of Directors of the Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association, as chair of the Board of Editors of the Boston Bar Journal, and as a member of the Judicial Administration Council of the Massachusetts Bar Association. She is a Trustee of Western New England University, where she chairs the academic affairs committee, and a member of the Boston Inn of Court. Lenk serves on the Board of Directors for Kerem Shalom in Concord, Massachusetts.
Justice Lenk is a lesbian. She married her wife, attorney Debra Krupp, following the legalization of same-sex marriage in Massachusetts in 2004. They have two adopted children. She is the first openly gay member of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. As of May 2019, she is one of ten openly LGBT state supreme court justices currently serving in the United States.
- Bierman, Noah (April 4, 2011). "Patrick nominates first openly gay justice to Mass. high court". Boston Globe. Archived from the original on November 3, 2012. Retrieved April 4, 2011.
- Chabot, Hillary (April 4, 2011). "Governor names openly gay Barbara Lenk to SJC". Boston Herald. Retrieved April 4, 2011.
- Levenson, Michael (May 4, 2011). "Lenk approved for SJC; first openly gay justice on state's highest court". Boston Globe. Retrieved May 4, 2011.
- "Justice Barbara A. Lenk Nominated To Massachusetts Supreme Court". GovMonitor.com. April 4, 2011. Retrieved April 4, 2011.
- "Massachusetts State Courts: Associate Justice Barbara A. Lenk". Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Archived from the original on 14 March 2011. Retrieved April 4, 2011.
- "Massachusetts State Courts: Justices of the Massachusetts Appeals Court". Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Archived from the original on 14 March 2011. Retrieved April 8, 2011.
- Note, Recent Case: Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Holds that Personal Representatives May Provide Lawful Consent for Release of a Decedent’s Emails, 131 Harv. L. Rev. 2081 (2018).
- Note, Recent Case: Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Holds that Local Law Enforcement Lacks Authority to Detain Pursuant to ICE Detainers, 131 Harv. L. Rev. 666 (2017).
- "Western New England University: Board of Trustees 2010-2011". Archived from the original on October 28, 2010. Retrieved April 4, 2011.
- "Boston American Inn of Court: 2010-2011 Membership Directory". Retrieved April 4, 2011.
- Bierman, Noah (April 5, 2011). "Another unprecedented SJC pick". Boston Globe. Retrieved April 5, 2011.
- Colbert, Chuck (November 18, 2008). "A Judicial Orientation". Boston Spirit Magazine. Archived from the original on April 27, 2011. Retrieved April 4, 2011.
- Goodnough, Abby (April 4, 2011). "Lesbian Judge Chosen for Top Massachusetts Court". New York Times. Archived from the original on 11 April 2011. Retrieved April 4, 2011.
| Associate Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court