The nomination of Andrew McDonald to be Connecticut's next chief justice of the Supreme Court cleared a major legislative hurdle Monday, but only by the thinnest of margins.
The House of Representatives voted 75-74 in favor of McDonald's nomination. The vote came down mostly along party lines, reflecting the unusually partisan rancor surrounding McDonald's nomination.
During debate in the House, Republican state Representative Rosa Rebimbas questioned whether McDonald has the experience and the judgment to be chief justice.
"It gives me great pause in supporting the nomination as chief justice, because that position, as it's been said over and over again, goes far beyond the work of a justice," she said. "You are the head individual. Every aspect of the judicial branch -- the chief justice is that leader."
Democratic state Representative William Tong told lawmakers that McDonald is more than qualified.
"I'm not sure there's anybody in this state more qualified, more prepared, more ready to do this job -- the job of chief justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court -- than Justice McDonald," said Tong. "There are few judges and few lawyers who have the depth and the breadth of his experience as a judge, an administrator and as a public servant."
McDonald's nomination came to House after a 20-20 tie vote in the legislature's judiciary committee and an unfavorable report.
The House earlier in the day voted 79-69 to rejected the committee's unfavorable report.
McDonald's nomination now heads to the Senate.