Letter: Justice Andrew McDonald is Connecticut’s Merrick Garland

Letter to the editor submitted by Joanna Swomley, Greenwich, March 21, 2018

Sadly, many Connecticut Republicans are attempting to block the nomination of a qualified, competent jurist solely for political purposes.

Despite the fact that our very own Greenwich delegation originally voted to seat him on the Supreme Court (except Sen. Frantz who was absent for the vote), that very delegation – all but Rep. Floren, to her credit – are now attempting to pull a “Merrick Garland.”

Taking a page from the GOP national playbook they are trying to keep the Chief Justice position open until after the November 2018 elections – hoping that they take the governor’s office and become the majority so they can appoint and vote in someone who will advance their partisan, political agenda.

Justice Andrew McDonald is eminently qualified to serve as Chief Justice of Connecticut’s Supreme Court. From 1991 to 2011, Justice McDonald was engaged in the private practice of law, first as an associate and then as a partner, with the firm of Pullman & Comley, LLC.

He was a commercial litigator and handled all stages of litigation in federal and state courts at both the trial and appellate levels. From 2011 to 2013, Justice McDonald served as the General Counsel to the Office of the Governor. In this role, he served as Chief Legal Advisor to the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor and senior staff of the Executive Branch of government. His responsibilities included providing legal counsel and analysis on all aspects of Executive Branch functions and operations, including its interactions with the federal government and the Judicial and Legislative branches of state government.

Justice McDonald was also a State Senator from 2003 to 2011 and he served as the Senate Chairman of the Judiciary Committee.

From 2005 to 2011, he served as Deputy Majority Leader of the Senate. He has held additional position too numerous to mention.

He is one of the most qualified jurists the state has seen.

Despite his qualifications – and voting for him the first time around – Reps. Bocchino and Camillo stood with most in their party and voted against Justice McDonald’s nomination as Chief Justice.

Luckily, Justice McDonald’s nomination passed the General Assembly without their votes.

The Senate vote is scheduled for next Monday. To date, Senator Scott Frantz has refused to endorse McDonald’s nomination.

It is inappropriate to hold this position open for political reasons and Senator Frantz should follow Representative Floren’s lead in voting on the merits.

Greenwich’s two-party system appears to be more robust than in recent years. Candidates are emerging where in the past they have not. Hopefully Greenwich, Stamford and New Canaan constituents are now letting Senator Frantz know that they are watching and will hold him accountable in November in the event he does not support this very qualified jurist’s nomination for what can only be viewed as highly partisan and inappropriate reasons.