Malloy pick to head state courts in jeopardy

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — A committee vote early Tuesday has placed the Governor‘s nominee to be the state’s top judge in jeopardy.

After questioning Justice Andrew McDonald for 13 hours, lawmakers on the Judiciary Committee ended in a tie vote, which means the nomination fails to get committee approval.

Related Content: Justice McDonald’s nomination heads to state legislature as unfavorable following tie vote

The 20-20 tie vote early Tuesday morning in the Judiciary Committee means the McDonald nomination goes to the full legislature with an “unfavorable recommendation.”  The nomination is in even more jeopardy in the evenly divided State Senate where Tuesday; Milford Democrat Gayle Slossberg told News 8 that she will recuse herself from voting on the nomination because of a conflict involving her attorney husband.

That means the Republicans will have 18 potential votes and the Democrats just 17, putting McDonald’s fate in Republican hands.

The Senate Republican Leader, Sen. Len Fasano of North Haven explained, “There are concerns I have, a lot were raised yesterday but I have some follow up questions and I haven’t really had an opportunity to really talk to my caucus.”

Related Content: Malloy pick to be top judge says advocacy as a legislator not disqualifying on the bench

The Democratic leader in the Senate, Martin Looney of New Haven, is condemning the committee vote. He said, “Partisanship should not come in to play in the nomination for Chief Justice of the Supreme Court or for any judgeship in Connecticut and clearly what we saw yesterday was primarily a partisan vote.”

The Speaker of the House, where the McDonald nomination may come up first, was more even more blunt. Rep. Joe Aresimowicz (D-Berlin) stated, “I think this is more about the November elections and the people of the State of Connecticut, myself included, I’m very disappointed.”

The House Republican leader denies that and says the committee votes against McDonald were based on a belief he’s not right for the job. Rep. Themis Klarides (R-Derby) said, “Based on what we heard last night and the questions we asked and the cases we’ve gone through; we didn’t believe that he fulfilled those requirements.”

Rep. Klarides also stated that even if the McDonald nomination squeaks by in the House, it will certainly go do down in the Senate. But Democrats say a lot can change over a couple of weeks and that’s how long this may take.

Some at the Capitol are implying that the fact that McDonald is openly gay had some impact on how some committee members voted this morning. But Senate Democratic Leader Looney tells News 8 he does not believe that but also said many are concerned because of the homophobic comments made against McDonald on a website, as News 8 reported last week.

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