CT chief justice vote ends in tie, nomination remains uncertain - WFSB 3 Connecticut

CT chief justice vote ends in tie, nomination remains uncertain

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Andrew McDonald was grilled for hours on Monday at a hearing for his nomination as chief justice of the state Supreme Court. (WFSB) Andrew McDonald was grilled for hours on Monday at a hearing for his nomination as chief justice of the state Supreme Court. (WFSB)
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

After an intense hearing, the nomination for the state's next chief justice of the Supreme Court ended in a tie with the Judiciary Committee casting a 20 to 20 vote.

Justice Andrew McDonald is the pick of Gov. Dannel Malloy after serving as his legal counsel.

Now, his nomination will go to the General Assembly for a vote with an unfavorable recommendation.

"After [Monday]’s hearing, there should be no doubt that Andrew McDonald has the qualifications, experience, and temperament to lead the state’s highest court," Malloy said in a statement. "He was open, transparent, and forthright about his judicial record and leadership experience."

Lawmakers grilled McDonald for 13 hours. He was on the hot seat again on Monday.

Tuesday brought a new development, making his nomination uncertain.

A Democrat in the Senate has recused herself, giving opponents an edge.

Democratic State Senator Gayle Slossberg recused herself from voting and had no comment, but she could be the one who sinks the nomination of McDonald for chief justice.

With an 18-18 split in the Senate, Slossberg's recusal could derail McDonald if the vote goes along party lines.

Slossberg won't vote because her husband, who is a lawyer, had a conflict with McDonald while on the high bench.

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

McDonald was Malloy’s legal counsel and a state senator before being appointed as a justice to the state Supreme Court.

Those opposed to McDonald say he had a conflict of interest on a death penalty ruling, he tends to be overreaching, and may not have enough experience.

"We are going to treat this as we treat every nomination, we are going to think about it, we are going to do our research, we should read the cases that's our obligation,” said Republican State Senator Len Fasano.

Some Democrats feel this has become very political.

"Right now we are going to have to reassess, see where we are. The good thing is we are not going to vote until next week so we have a solid week to analyze things,” said Democratic State Senator Paul Doyle.

The vote could happen March 7.

State statutes said if the nomination fails, Malloy has five days the nominate someone else.

A majority in both chambers of the General Assembly is needed for McDonald's nomination.

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