Aloisi Jr., James A. “The Vidal Lecture: Sex and Politics in Massachusetts and the Persecution of Chief Justice Robert Bonin”, Chilmark, Ashburton Hill, 2011.
A Look at History in Massachusetts
If you remember, the expression “Banned in Boston” still meant something in the 1970’s. Boston was actually two distinct cities—one was the old Boston, the staid and lackluster remnant of a time that was. Then there was the new Boston which was vibrant and moving forward. It had a young mayor who focused on reform. The state of Massachusetts was in a strange state in the late 1970’s. Reformers and the establishment were at odds. Incumbents lost their bids for re-election (governor, U.S. senator and district attorney); the state senate vice president resigned because of scandal. At the same time, the chief justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Court, Robert Bonin, had to either resign or be impeached.
Bonin was appointed Chief Justice in 1977 and immediately politicians and lawyers were determined to get him removed. Quite naturally, a fight took place. As this continued, people became more and more aware of the Boston that was. The reasons for Bonin’s removal were personal biases, revenge and raw ambition. Bonin believed that he could reform the court and that he would be safe based upon his own integrity and intellect.
The author has combined all of the elements of vengefulness, convenient alliances, love and homophobia into a dramatic tale that changed the face of Boston.