Candidate for SJC clerkship takes part in rally against MBTA development plan

Local news

A Boston city councilman and candidate for a seat on the state's highest court, which is able to hear a case on the controversial MBTA Communities Act later this yr, recently joined residents' protests against the law.

City Councilwoman Erin Murphy, a Democrat who’s running for Chief Clerk of Suffolk County within the Primary elections on September 3appeared at a street rally against the law in Winthrop earlier this month, reported.

Murphy said she was attending one other event in the world when she decided to stop by the rally, but said she didn’t take a stance on the MBTA Communities Act. She added that she supports residents who’re each for and against the bill because she supports “any group anywhere that feels like things are being forced upon them.”

The MBTA Communities Act is an increasingly controversial law that requires 177 cities and towns in Eastern Massachusetts to rezone their areas to permit the development of multifamily housing near MBTA stops. Supporters say the law will help alleviate the state's housing crisis, while critics say it threatens the autonomy of local governments and residents.

About 60 municipalities covered by the law have already modified their zoning to comply with the law, while residents of several towns have voted against the rezoning efforts. Two towns – Milton and Holden – are currently not in compliance with the law.

Winthrop is considered one of the cities that also struggles with compliance with the law. The city leadership arguing There is a scarcity of capability so as to add the required variety of housing units. Earlier this yr, the state disputed town's request to reclassify the municipality right into a category that might require fewer units.

The case against Milton's violation of the law is scheduled to be heard before the Supreme Court later this yr

At a town hall meeting in February, Milton became the primary municipality to vote against complying with the MBTA's municipal code. When the deadline to amend the zoning plan was missed earlier this yr, Attorney General Andrea Campbell filed suit against the municipality.

The case has been sent to the Supreme Court (SJC) and is scheduled to be heard in the autumn. Campbell's office is hoping for a decisive vote from the SJC to make it clear to communities that the law isn’t optional. reported.

By the time the subsequent clerk takes office in January, the Supreme Judicial Council could have already selected the MBTA Communities Act. But some still criticize Murphy's participation within the rally, especially at a time when the impartiality of the court system is under scrutiny nationally.

“The appearance of impartiality extends to the clerk of the court,” said former federal judge Nancy Gertner. “It shows a lack of judgment, especially at a time when the integrity of the courts is at stake.”

The position of the clerk requires impartiality and independence

The Employee at Suffolk County SJC is charged with the administration of cases requiring only a judge of the SJC, administrative and disciplinary matters involving members of the bar, and admission to the bar and the practice of law within the state. Although the clerk doesn’t vote directly on cases that undergo the SJC, the job description includes Position overview.

Murphy, currently Boston City Council without portfoliohas no legal background. In her pitch for the position on her websiteShe sheds light on her background as a teacher within the Boston Public Schools and her current position as a city councilor.

“The people of Suffolk County deserve someone in this office who will put them first and stand up for their rights under the law,” Murphy’s website states.

Murphy is running for the position against the general public defender Allison Cartwright. Maura Doylethe present SJC clerk, who isn’t looking for re-election, served as a civil litigator in state and federal courts for 11 years.

image credit :