BOSTON (AP) -- Gov. Deval Patrick's pick to be the state's top judge faces questions from the Governor's Council as his confirmation hearing resumes at the Statehouse.

Ralph Gants is currently an associate justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. He was nominated to succeed the retiring Roderick Ireland as chief justice of the court.

The eight-member council, which reviews all judicial nominations, heard last week from several supporters of the nomination, along with a handful of opponents. Wednesday will mark the first direct questioning of Gants.

One councilor, former Springfield Mayor Michael Albano, indicated in a statement that he would ask about Gants' tenure in the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's office before he became a judge.

Albano said he'd also seek out Gants' views on marriage equality, affirmative action, gun ownership rights and other issues.