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Malloy Nominates Long-Time Friend To Supreme Court

by Christine Stuart | Dec 27, 2012 12:58pm
(9) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Courts

Christine Stuart photo

Andrew McDonald

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy nominated his friend and chief legal counsel, Andrew McDonald, to the state Supreme Court Thursday.

McDonald, a former state senator and co-chairman of the legislature’s Judiciary Committee until 2011, will be the first openly gay Supreme Court justice to serve on the court if his nomination is approved by the legislature.

Malloy, who married McDonald and his husband, Charles Gray, in 2009, said McDonald has an “exceptional ability to understand, analyze, research and evaluate legal issues.” He said those skills will allow him to be a great jurist.

For most of his legal career, McDonald served as a litigation partner for Pullman & Comley LLC, where he chaired the firm’s appellate practice. Malloy asked him to leave private practice twice to join him in public service.  The first time, MacDonald served as director of legal affairs and corporation counsel for the city of Stamford from 1999 through 2002. In 2010, after Malloy was elected governor, McDonald was appointed chief legal counsel.

Malloy said he’s seen McDonald work under intense pressure. Much of that pressure was applied by Malloy, the governor joked.

“Regardless of the circumstances he always approaches his work with a steadfastness and a steadiness of purpose,” Malloy said of McDonald as the two stood at a podium in the Old Judiciary Room at the state Capitol.

McDonald, who as co-chairman of the Judiciary Committee often grilled judicial nominees, said his only regret is that his parents, Anne and Alex, weren’t around to celebrate the moment. His mother, Anne, a former state representative, passed away in 2007 and his father Alex, passed earlier this year. McDonald choked up a little as he imagined them holding hands in heaven.

Michael Lawlor, the governor’s chief criminal justice adviser, said he’s confident McDonald will sail through the nomination process. “I don’t think there is one question he hasn’t answered in public,” Lawlor, who co-chaired the Judiciary Committee with McDonald, said.

McDonald’s nomination was applauded by Republican leadership in the state Senate.

“While Andrew and I have had considerable political differences over the years, I have always respected his commitment to public service and the law,” Sen. Minority Leader John McKinney, said. “He is qualified and I am confident he will uphold the state constitution and carry out his responsibilities as a Supreme Court Justice with the highest degree of impartiality and integrity.”

Malloy nominated McDonald to fill the vacancy left by Justice Lubbie Harper Jr., who turned 70 in November. Supreme Court Justice C. Ian McLachlan, who turned 70 in June, retired and returned to private practice. Malloy said he will be looking to fill that vacancy soon as well.

McDonald is the second person to leave the Malloy administration as it heads into the second half of its four-year term. Earlier this month, Roy Occhiogrosso, Malloy’s senior communications adviser, left Malloy’s office causing speculation the governor won’t be finishing out his term. Some have speculated that he will join the Obama administration, but his staff continues to say there’s no validity to those rumors.

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(9) Comments

posted by: Wakewhenover | December 27, 2012  1:58pm

Did you expect any different from Dannel?  A buddy, plus a radical liberal to boot!  Doesn’t get any better than that.  You’ve got 2 years Dannel, than it’s out of elected office in CT (fool them once…..). Then it’s off to DC with BHO as undersecretary of some feel good tax wastin’ sham Dept. 
Bad choice

posted by: Reasonable | December 27, 2012  4:20pm

Anyone Gov.(Dan the Politician) would appoint—deserves much scrutiny.  Any rubber-stamp nomination by our governor is extrememly dangerous.  Isn’t the country in bad shape already?  This is like adding fuel to our national fire.

posted by: Tessa Marquis | December 27, 2012  5:05pm

Great choice. As far as I can tell, Andrew McDonald has been a fair and honest legislator, a more than able attorney, and a good public servant throughout his career.

posted by: Noteworthy | December 27, 2012  8:37pm

I hope this is the last story I read where the words “openly gay” are anywhere in the story. Whether somebody is hetero or homosexual is pointless.

posted by: Stephen Mendelsohn | December 28, 2012  1:41am

A terrible nomination for Connecticut citizens with disabilities.  in 2009 as co-chair of the Judiciary Committee, McDonald attempted to push physician-assisted suicide legislation before an outraged public got the committee to box the bill, SB 1138: Disability advocacy organizations such as Not Dead Yet have long been in the forefront of oppostition to this lethal discrimination against those with severe disabilities.
More recently, he made the following offensive comments at oral arguments in Ludlum et al v. Malloy, challenging the forced unionization of personal care attendants:  “This was the first time in 20 years of practicing law I’ve watched the radical Right in the courtroom. It was a surreal and bizarre experience.”  Really?  People with disabilities standing up for their rights is “radical Right”?  Will McDonald recuse himself if and when Cathy Ludlum’s case gets to the CT Supreme Court, having made these highly prejudicial remarks?
Let us hope state legislators give McDonald a good grilling on these issues.

posted by: JamesBronsdon | December 28, 2012  2:09pm

Mr. Mendelsohn’s comments made me wonder if this was the same individual that sponsored the bill several years ago that would have regulated Catholic parishes finances.  Indeed he is.  As a state senator, McDonald introduced, with Michael Lawlor, Raised Bill 1098.  Roundly denounced as unconstitutional, they were shamed into pulling it back.  No friend of the First Amendment is Mr. McCarthy.  Or, is he merely antagonistic to the Catholic Church?  Either way, my representatives will hear of my concerns. 

However, since Raised Bill 1098 explicitly referred only to the Roman Catholic Church, and would require the creation of

posted by: Reasonable | December 28, 2012  5:54pm

Fred:  Please complete your unfinished comment—left without conclusion.  Thank you.

posted by: JamesBronsdon | December 30, 2012  1:56pm

Reasonable, it was just a fragment that I intended to delete.  I’ll just add here now that unless Mr. McDonald repudiates that attempted and unconstitutional piece of legislation, he is a poor choice for Connecticut - at least for those of us who believe in freedom of religion.

posted by: Captain Hook | December 31, 2012  1:15pm

Doesn’t Dannel know he is supposed to appoint someone interested in Justice, not someone who is a radical leftwing activist?  This is our Governor?  Good grief!