Judicial elections, democratic appointment (e.g., senate confirmation), and the Missouri Plan (a/k/a "merit selection")

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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Nomination to the Connecticut Supreme Court: The "Federal Model" in Action

The "Federal Model" in Action

Outside the northeast, many people (even many lawyers) are not familiar with states selecting their judges in the same basic way federal judges are selected: nomination by the executive and then confirmation by the legislature.  At the federal level, that is done by the president and the US Senate.  In Connecticut, it is done by the governor and both houses of the state legislature.  I believe this is the best (or least bad) method of judicial selection.  (Maybe that's because I grew up in the northeast and lived in Connecticut, as well as New York, where I am licensed to practice law.)

Connecticut Governor Malloy recently nominated Appellate Judge Richard A. Robinson as his choice for a vacancy on the Connecticut Supreme Court, "saying the nomination is the first of about a dozen judicial appointments he expects to make before the General Assembly convenes its 2014 session in February."

According to the CT Mirror, "The first-term Democratic governor has made judicial diversity a goal, and his previous appointments to the state’s highest court include Carmen Espinosa, the first Latina on the court, and Andrew McDonald, its first openly gay jurist. His other two nominees, Lubbie Harper Jr. and Robinson, were only the third and fourth black men named to the court."

Gov. Malloy was quoted as saying about his belief in diversity.  “That’s not simply talking about race or other backgrounds,"  "I’m looking for justices who have good common sense and understand real-life situations. And, quite frankly, if they pull for the underdog once in a while, that wouldn’t bother me."

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