BOSTON (AP) — The search for three new justices to sit on Massachusetts' highest court is about to enter a new phase.

Gov. Charlie Baker's office said Friday is the deadline for those wishing to apply for one of the upcoming vacancies on the Supreme Judicial Court.

Associate justices Fernande Duffly, Francis Spina and Robert Cordy have all announced plans to step down from the seven-member court by the end of the summer. The vacancies provide Baker with an unusual opportunity to shape the court.

Baker formed a special judicial nominating commission to help vet SJC candidates.

After Friday's deadline, the commission will begin reviewing applications and decide which applicants to interview and, later, recommend to the Republican governor.

Those eventually nominated to the court must be confirmed by the eight-member Governor's Council.