Vote to confirm state chief justice nominee fails

Published on Tuesday, 27 March 2018 21:01
Written by SUSAN HAIGH

Associated Press

HARTFORD - The Connecticut Senate on Tuesday rejected Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s State Supreme Court chief justice nominee mostly along partisan lines, setting off political reverberations in a state where an open governor’s seat and control of the General Assembly are at stake in November.

The Senate voted 19-16 to oppose confirming Associate Justice Andrew McDonald.

Some who supported elevating McDonald to the high court’s top job took to Twitter, accusing Republican lawmakers of opposing the former Democratic state senator because he is gay. One Democratic candidate for the House of Representatives said the lack of Republican support for McDonald in the Senate “should motivate progressives across the entire state” to support Democratic candidates.

“We can’t let homophobia take control of the legislature in the fall,” tweeted Joseph Young of Manchester during Tuesday’s debate. He included the hashtag “bluewave2018.” If confirmed, McDonald would be the first openly gay state supreme court chief justice.

Various Democratic statewide candidates also made a point of pledging support for McDonald during the debate or expressing their dismay with the final vote. Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin, who is considering a run for governor, said the next governor should re-nominate McDonald for chief justice, calling him “the right person for the job.” He urged other Democratic candidates to take the same stand.

Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff, D-Norwalk, said he expects the stunning defeat of McDonald will be a hot topic in this year’s election, noting how various groups have been paying close attention.

“The bridge is finally connected between Washington Republicans and Connecticut Republicans based on all 18 state Senate Republicans all voting no on a qualified candidate. It’s totally unprecedented,” Duff said. “This shows that they are basically bear-hugging the tactics of the Trump administration and (U.S. Senate Majority Leader) Mitch McConnell down in Washington. There’s a lot of constituencies out here who will not forget.”

Posted in New Britain Herald, State on Tuesday, 27 March 2018 21:01. Updated: Tuesday, 27 March 2018 21:04.