Democratic Senators ask for change in failed chief justice vote - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Democratic Senators ask for change in failed chief justice vote

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The state Senate Republicans voted down Andrew McDonald's nomination for chief justice (WFSB) The state Senate Republicans voted down Andrew McDonald's nomination for chief justice (WFSB)
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

State lawmakers are reacting to the vote rejecting Gov. Dannel Malloy's nominee for chief justice.

Every Republican state senator and one Democrat voted against Andrew McDonald.

McDonald would have become the country's first openly gay chief justice.

The governor and other Democrats are accusing Republicans of being homophobic.

"That was a grave mistake yesterday and its dangerous to the traditions we have had in CT of a strong independent judiciary where judges should be able to operate without fear and without bringing their legal skills to bear," said Democratic Senator Martin Looney.

However, GOP lawmakers say McDonald’s history as a potential advocate hurts his credibility.

"I am not saying justice McDonald is a bad guy but he certainly had opinions on what legislation should move forward or not move forward,” said Republican Senator John Kissel.

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

On Wednesday, Democratic lawmakers called for drastic change regarding the vote.

They want one or more Republican senators to change their "no" vote. Republicans said that isn't happening.

“The State Senate already voted on this issue. Both Republicans and Democrats voted against the governor’s nominee. The vote is done. I look forward to learning who Governor Malloy will nominate next," said Republican Senator Len Fasano.

Democratic leaders say McDonald is highly qualified. His credentials are supported by deans of law schools and the CT Bar Association.

Gov. Malloy has harsh words for those who voted against McDonald, especially Senator Joan Hartley.

"Senator Hartley has a history of homophobia herself, as demonstrated in votes she has taken. On a number of occasions has voted against protections for that audience of folks,” Malloy said.

However, Hartley and majority of lawmakers on both sides supported McDonald’s nomination as an associate judge.

Malloy has five days from the failed vote to nominate another judge.

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