The Connecticut House of Represenatives confirmed the nomination of Andrew McDonald as the Chief Justice for the state Supreme Court.
He won his confirmation by a single vote of 75-74. His nomination now heads to the state Senate.
If he passes muster, he’ll make history as the first openly LGBTI Chief Justice of a state Supreme Court.
Support and criticism of McDonald have mostly remained on party lines. Democrats hail him as an exceptional attorney and judge with years of experience. Republicans, on the other hand, say McDonald’s personal beliefs and liberal leanings color his opinions.
In the vote on Monday (12 March), Republicans took issues with McDonald’s past vote on capital punishment in the state. McDonald voted against the death penalty in Connecticut, getting rid of the practice in a 4-3 vote.
Not based on political calculation
Governor Dannel Malloy nominated McDonald in January.
Previously, McDonald served on the state Supreme Court since 2011.
About his success in the House, Malloy said:
‘Justice McDonald is a consummate jurist who has earned the respect of legal professionals across the state for his exceptional ability to understand, analyze, research, and evaluate legal issues. He has a deep understanding of the role and the impact that the justice system has on the everyday lives of Connecticut residents, and the value of ensuring equality and fairness through the court’s many responsibilities.’
He further stated the Senate should consider and vote on McDonald based on ‘substantive and objective assessment of facts’, not ‘political calculation’.
Human Rights Campaign National Field Director Marty Rouse also praised the first vote and McDonald.
‘Connecticut’s leading legal voices all agree that McDonald is highly qualified and should be judged on his qualifications, acumen, experience and character. At a time when partisan politics continues to stand in the way of real progress in our country, we urge the Connecticut legislature not to politicize the judicial confirmation process.’
The Senate is expected to vote later this week.
If McDonald lands the position, it will be a blow to Donald Trump’s track record of nominating anti-LGBTI judges.