March 13, 2018 | Press Release
BETHEL, CT: Yesterday, Bethel State Representative William Duff (R-‐2) along with 68 other Republicans voted against the nomination of former legislator and current associate justice Andrew McDonald to be the next Chief Justice of the Connecticut State Supreme Court. McDonald, a member of the Connecticut Supreme Court since 2011, has been widely praised by Connecticut’s leading legal voices. Despite Republican opposition, McDonald was confirmed by the State House in a largely party-‐line vote.
“At a time when partisan politics continue to stand in the way of real progress in our country, Republicans in the Connecticut State Legislature have chosen to politicize the judicial confirmation process, taking a page out of the playbook of U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell,” said 2nd District Assembly Candidate Raghib Allie-‐Brennan. “Just five years ago, Republicans voted overwhelmingly in support of McDonald’s confirmation as an Associate Justice. It’s obvious that this dramatic shift is in response to the hyper-‐partisan rhetoric coming out of Washington, DC. Connecticut must present a better example.”
Connecticut’s leading legal voices including the dean of the UConn Law School, both the current and incoming presidents of the Connecticut Bar Association, the president of the Connecticut Trial Lawyers Association, and others, all agree that McDonald is highly qualified and should be favorably judged on his exemplary qualifications.
To date, the Republican opposition has yet to offer much in the way of actual evidence that McDonald is somehow unfit for the post, aside from arguments that he should have recused himself from a Supreme Court case that found the death penalty violates the state constitution simply because he had discussed the death penalty as a legislator. During a 13-‐hour hearing, McDonald stressed that there is no precedent for disqualifying a judge because of prior actions as a lawmaker.
The State Senate is expected to vote later this week. If confirmed, Judge McDonald would make history as the first openly LGBTQ Chief Justice on a U.S. State Supreme Court. Which leads to the question, what rationale do Republican members of the Legislature have for opposing someone who is so obviously qualified?
“Partisanship has always been a part of the judicial confirmation process, but there was also real value placed, by both parties, in having qualified people on our courts,” said Allie-‐Brennan. “Our representatives had respect for men and women who conscientiously applied the law. To see Republicans in the legislature opposing solid, credible, qualified judicial nominees simply for partisan gain in an election year, to see them reject the inclusion of diverse viewpoints and backgrounds within our halls of justice, is dismaying. And it’s worrisome. Connecticut has a rich and historic tradition of embracing diversity and ensuring inclusion, at virtually every level. It’s a tradition we need to uphold—regardless of party lines.”