Tejal Mehta, an Indian-American woman judge, took oath as the first Justice of Ayer district court in Massachusetts. She pledged to have a significant impact on the community and treat people with kindness.
She was unanimously chosen and sworn in by Judge Stacey Fortes, Chief Justice of the District Court as reported by the Lowell Sun. She had previously served as an Associate Justice with the same court.
"As a lawyer, you can help people, but you can only help them to a point", Mehta said, adding that “As a judge, you can do so much more and get to the root of issues and talk to people in such a way that gets through to them.”
“I have seen the same hopes and despair in every court I have sat in as a traveling judge”, Mehta, who started her career in civil work, said. “But when you are the first Justice, then you can really get to know the community and make a real impact," she said.
Judge Margaret Guzman, who had served as the first Justice of the Ayer District Court for five years, commended the appointment of Mehta as the court's first Justice, calling her as someone "who will preserve the pattern of treating people fairly". She makes some pretty difficult decisions, Ms. Guzman added.
Members of Mehta’s family including her 14-year-old daughter Mena Sheth and her husband Ketan Sheth were present on the occasion.
Mena, one of the ceremony speakers, quoted US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (RBG)when talking about her mother, “Fight for things you care about but do so in a way that will lead others to join you,” and continued, “My mom is the exact embodiment of this quote. Through her kindness and outgoing personality, she encourages people to share her understanding of the world. Being a judge has given her the ability to see and do what’s best and I can’t think of anyone better to have that responsibility.”
Mehta, a Concord resident, began her career in civil work before switching to the Middlesex District Attorney's Office, where she worked for more than ten years as a prosecutor. She then opened her own firm and worked as a public defender before aiming to become a circuit judge.