Learning the Law

Richard E. Welch III, associate justice for the Massachusetts Superior Courts, visits campus.
For three weeks in April and May, the Thacher community was lucky enough to welcome the Honorable Richard Welch (P ’16) to campus for his second stint as an Anacapa Scholar. An associate justice for the Massachusetts Superior Courts since his appointment in 1994, Judge Welch has a wealth of deep knowledge and expertise concerning the American legal system, which he generously shared during classroom discussions, as well as a lecture that was open to the whole community.

In Jason Carney’s Contemporary Ethical Issues course, a senior history elective, Judge Welch taught a unit on constitutional law, taking students from the original framing of the U.S. Constitution to modern-day landmark legal cases.

“My students had the wonderful opportunity to learn from Judge Welch, who not only had been a prosecutor (where he worked for Robert Mueller!) and a judge in Massachusetts but also is a former Thacher parent,” said Mr. Carney. “His generous spirit, keen intellect, and storytelling ability contributed to an invaluable learning experience for us all.”

Judge Welch also gave a thoughtful and engaging talk to the community titled “The Federal Government’s ‘War on California’: When State and Federal Policies Collide.”

Head of School Michael Mulligan, who has known Judge Welch for many years, said: “Judge Welch brought to us his many years of wisdom from the bench. A distinguished law scholar and renowned judge, he was able to impart to our students critical insights regarding some of the hot issues around constitutional questions currently being debated by the left and right. The topics of gun control, immigration, abortion, affirmative action, and the like were examined from both a strict and loose interpretive perspective. Our students found this fascinating, needless to say. Doubtlessly, Judge Welch has inspired some nascent law scholars.”

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