Lawmakers question chief justice nominee - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Lawmakers question chief justice nominee

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Andrew McDonald was questioned on Monday by lawmakers (WFSB) Andrew McDonald was questioned on Monday by lawmakers (WFSB)

Governor Dannel Malloy’s pick for chief justice on the state Supreme Court got a day of grilling.

Lawmakers on the judiciary committee had plenty of questions for Andrew McDonald, as some say he doesn't have enough experience others feel he's an activist.

This is the most important position on the state Supreme Court, as a chief justice has a lot of influence, but McDonald’s past record is causing concerns.

On Monday, he fielded questions from lawmakers over his nomination for chief justice.

"As a member of the general assembly, I voted on thousands of bills. I wrote and sponsored hundreds of them,” McDonald said.

He was nominated by Gov. Malloy, and was the governor’s chief legal counsel.

Republicans were expected to show opposition but conservatives are focused on the death penalty. They say McDonald flip-flopped on the issue when he was a state senator and he pushed for abolishment, but said it would not apply to inmates currently on death row.

However, when appointed to the Supreme Court, the death penalty was abolished for all.

When asked if he thought McDonald had an agenda, Republican State Rep. Vinnie Candelora said “Absolutely, he always wanted a straight appeal of the death penalty and that was not going to happen with Dr. Petit and his family, so they only way to do it was to get dealt penalty passed prospectively."

Democrats like State Senator Gary Winfield don't see that as much of an issue.

"I think Andrew McDonald is a good nomination. I am open to the possibility of things, I haven't heard anything that would make me not vote positively for him,” Winfield said.

"What we have to protect ourselves from is a situation where these kinds of situations become political,” Malloy said.

McDonald is also openly gay, and would be the first openly gay chief justice on the state Supreme Court.

Many of the lawmakers say that's not an issue for them.

The justice committee will vote Monday and then the general assembly will have its say, a majority in both chambers if needed.

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