CT chief justice vote fails along party lines - WFSB 3 Connecticut

CT chief justice vote fails along party lines

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Andrew McDonald during a previous hearing on his nomination. (WFSB file) Andrew McDonald during a previous hearing on his nomination. (WFSB file)
Senators debate on Tuesday the nomination of Andrew McDonald for chief justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court. (WFSB) Senators debate on Tuesday the nomination of Andrew McDonald for chief justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court. (WFSB)
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

The vote on the governor's nomination for chief justice of the state Supreme Court has failed in the state Senate.

The Senate voted on Tuesday on the promotion of Associate Justice Andrew McDonald.

However, Republicans rejected the nomination. The vote failed 19 to 16.

McDonald only passed a House of Representatives vote by one vote.

Gov. Dannel Malloy said he would not withdraw the nomination. He feels McDonald deserves a Senate vote.

“Justice McDonald’s nomination has been widely supported by the legal community, including lawyers, judges, and deans of law schools," Malloy said.

The vote was pretty much along party lines. All Republicans voted no, but one Democrat, Senator Joan Hartley, also said no. Democratic Sen. Gayle Slossberg recused herself for a conflict of interest.

"He's not a bad guy but he had opinions on what legislation should move forward," said Republican State Senator John Kissel.

Malloy said the Republican Party is always looking to justify a "no" vote.

"I think that part of it may be addressed to me, part of it may address to the fact that they don't like opinions, he wrote part of it may be addressed to the fact that there are people who don't believe that gay people should be on the Supreme Court," he said.

Malloy accused Sen. Len Fasano of swaying GOP lawmakers.

Fasano, however, said members are not supporting the McDonald nomination for various reasons including pushing the Supreme Court into "areas it shouldn't be in."

Fasano said he's also offended by accusations that some senators won't vote for McDonald because he's gay.

"I think anyone who has a gay friend or child or relative should think twice about supporting anyone who voted against Andrew McDonald," Malloy said. 

He said he's voting "no" because he believes McDonald is an activist judge who should have recused himself from certain cases, especially regarding the death penalty.

“This is not about politics, this is about policy, where Justice McDonald's decisions lead one to conclude the drifting of the Supreme Court and that is where I have some problems with so of the things," Fasano said.

Malloy said Republicans should be held accountable for voting as a block against him.

"It's a combination of unpopular governor, Republicans having power and the possibility of a large win for the LGBT community, that they could stop," said Senator Beth Bye. 

Now that the nomination was rejected, Malloy will have five days to nominate someone else.

McDonald issued a statement on Tuesday afternoon that said "At my mother’s funeral I eulogized her, which was one of the hardest things I’ve ever needed to do. Today, I need to do something that is no doubt less difficult, but it is still a task I undertake with great sorrow: I regretfully acknowledge that I have been unsuccessful in my effort to be confirmed as Chief Justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court. In my eulogy of my mother I shared a lesson she taught me that has always helped to guide me in my personal, professional and public lives.  Whenever I faced a challenging situation, or was disappointed about something that happened to me, she would always remind me, “Andrew, life is not about you.  It’s about those who need you.”  To everyone I tried to help, and to everyone who tried to help me, I am sorry I failed in this endeavor.  And to the LGBT community, particularly its youth who I know have been closely watching this process, I want you to understand that every minority group in history has faced setbacks.  In the fullness of time, those setbacks usually end up becoming a source of strength, a reminder of why the community must continue to press for equality, and a framework that helps shape and develop the next steps of progress. To Governor Malloy and to the legislators who voted for me – including one particularly courageous and brave one – I want to thank you for your support, encouragement and confidence.  I will never forget any of it. The enormous honor of leading the Connecticut judiciary as an independent and coequal branch of government will now fall to another.  I am confident that the judges and staff of the Judicial Branch will show that nominee the same level of collegiality and assistance that has been shown to me. In this turbulent personal moment, I don’t know what the future holds for me.  I do know, however, that I will face it secure in the love and affection of my husband, Charles, and an amazing group of friends and family that I cherish, never more than I do today."

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