McDonald Chief Justice Confirmation To Be Rejected By Connecticut Senate Republicans

Mar 26, 2018

Connecticut Senate Republicans said they have the votes to block Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy’s nomination for chief justice of the state supreme court. But Malloy is still insisting that the senate hold a vote.

Earlier this year, Malloy nominated sitting Supreme Court Justice Andrew MacDonald to the chief justice post. That nomination narrowly passed the state house, but has yet to come before the senate.

Even after Senate Republican President Len Fasano told him the Republicans would block the nomination, Malloy said he wasn’t reconsidering.

“I will not pull justice McDonald’s nomination. I think he deserves a vote and it is my understanding from Senator Looney that he will get one,” he said, referring to Senate President pro tem Martin Looney.

Malloy attacked the GOP senate caucus, saying that they’re “politicizing the vote.” The governor said Fasano had assured him that his caucus members can follow their conscience on the vote. But Malloy didn’t think it was a coincidence that all 18 Republican senators decided to vote against McDonald's nomination.

Fasano responded to Malloy’s criticism shortly after the governor's Monday news conference, saying that caucus members informed him either by text or by phone call of how they would vote—but only he knew what everyone was doing.

“Nobody knew what the caucus votes were sort of on a cumulative basis but me,” Fasano said. “I think that we went way out of our way to keep it as open as possible in terms of people to make their own decisions.”

Fasano said he’s voting no because he disagreed with judgements rendered by McDonald—particularly in the case of the State of Connecticut v. Eduardo Santiago, the case that effectively struck down the death penalty in the state.

Fasano pointed to McDonald’s level of experience as another reason that he and his colleagues won’t support the confirmation.

The confirmation is expected to go before the senate Tuesday. In the event Republicans do vote down the confirmation, Malloy said he doesn’t know what he’ll do next.

As for Fasano, he offered Justice Richard Robinson as a potential nominee for chief justice of the state Supreme Court that he personally could support.