Governor Ned Lamont announced on Friday that he is nominating Nora R. Dannehy of Glastonbury to serve as an Associate Justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court.
Dannehy is being named to fill the seat most recently held by the Honorable Maria Araújo Kahn, who resigned earlier this year after being confirmed to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
“Nora has a reputation in Connecticut as a fighter of corruption and crooked public officials, providing protections that ensure our justice system is shielding the interests of the people and not the powerful,” Governor Lamont said in a release. “She has never been intimidated to back down from a fight against those in the highest levels of government, and her work has resulted in groundbreaking reforms in Connecticut that will forever shape how we elect public officials and their requirements for openness and transparency. She is incredibly qualified to serve on the bench and will be a great addition to the Supreme Court.”
“I am honored and humbled by the governor’s nomination and I recognize the tremendous responsibility this position brings,” Dannehy said. “I appreciate that this is the first step in the process, and if confirmed I will fully and eagerly do everything I can to serve the people of Connecticut to the best of my ability.”
Born in Willimantic, Dannehy, 62, is well-known in Connecticut and throughout the country as an advocate for the public’s interests and clean government.
From 1991 to 2010, she served in several roles with the U.S. Department of Justice, including becoming the first woman to serve as U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut, the state’s top federal prosecutor.
During her tenure with the US Dept of Justice, she specialized in the prosecution of complex white collar and public corruption cases, including cases within the highest levels of Connecticut state government that lead to the convictions of several prominent public officials, including Governor John G. Rowland, State Treasurer Paul J. Silvester, and New Haven Police Department Lieutenant William “Billy” White. She also supervised several national investigations.
In 2010, Dannehy was appointed as Deputy Attorney General for the Office of the Attorney General for the State of Connecticut in a role that required her to supervise the office’s day-to-day litigation efforts. From 2013 until 2019, she served as the Associate General Counsel for Global Ethics and Compliance for United Technologies Corporation. Through her work as the chief compliance officer for a major corporation, Dannehy supervised numerous investigations and advised the company regarding compliance, ethics, and related policies. In 2019, she returned to public service as Counsel to the U.S. Attorney, and then as General Counsel to Governor Lamont from 2021 until January of 2023.
Dannehy currently works in private practice in the Hartford-based firm of Cowdery, Murphy, Dannehy & Healy, where she conducts internal and independent investigations for public and private entities.
She earned a B.A. in political science and French from Wellesley College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.
On Friday, Connecticut’s four Democratic caucus leaders – Senate President Martin M. Looney (D-New Haven), House Speaker Matt Ritter (D-Hartford), Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-Norwalk), and House Majority Leader Jason Rojas (D-East Hartford) – endorsed Governor Lamont’s nomination of Dannehy to the State Supreme Court.
“We worked closely with Nora Dannehy when she was General Counsel for Governor Lamont and were impressed with her intellect, her temperament, and her understanding of both the law and public policy,” the legislative leaders said in a joint statement. “Nora Dannehy is also a person of integrity and fortitude. Her state and federal legal experience demonstrates that she is independent and committed to the fair and impartial application of the law. We look forward to her confirmation hearing before the Judiciary Committee and vote in both chambers of the General Assembly later this month.”
“I was pleased to learn of Governor Lamont’s nomination of Attorney Nora Dannehy to be an Associate Justice on Connecticut’s Supreme Court,” Senate Minority Leader Kevin Kelly (R-Stratford) said. “Attorney Dannehy will be a distinguished addition to our state’s highest court. She has a strong history of acting in the best interests of Connecticut’s citizens and possesses the intellect, compassion, and temperament that we should seek in a jurist. Our State Supreme Court will greatly benefit from her lifetime of experience in law and public service. I commend the governor for putting forward such a well-qualified nominee.”
“Like many others, I understand why Governor Lamont holds Nora Dannehy in such high esteem,” House Minority Leader Vincent Candelora (R-North Branford) said. “While I certainly appreciate Attorney Dannehy’s remarkable professional experience, it’s her temperament, deliberative nature, and confidence to make difficult decisions that has impressed me most. Nora Dannehy has been an excellent servant to our country and state, and I support her nomination as a Justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court.”
“I’ve had the privilege of knowing Nora Dannehy since high school when we both attended the American Legion Girls State Program,” Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz said. “It was clear then that she would excel at anything she set her mind to. She has since devoted almost her entire legal career to public service. I’ve watched her over the course of her career successfully fighting public corruption as an Assistant United States Attorney, prosecuting former Governor John Rowland, protecting the consumers of Connecticut as Deputy Attorney General, and keeping the people of Connecticut safe during the COVID-19 pandemic as our administration’s General Counsel. I know she will bring her brilliant legal mind, the highest ethical standards, and a strong sense of fairness to our Supreme Court.”
“Nora Dannehy is a tremendously skilled and highly respected attorney who has dedicated her career to public service, including as Deputy Attorney General,” Attorney General William Tong said. “She was a great partner to me and my office during the COVID-19 pandemic and served capably and creatively as the General Counsel to the Governor during a period of great uncertainty and risk to the state. I can think of no nominee more qualified and ready for the Supreme Court than her.”
“Nora Dannehy is much more than a superb lawyer – she’s an individual of extraordinary integrity and character who will interpret and administer the law wisely and impartially,” former Attorney General George Jepsen said. “I saw this every day for the nearly three years she served as Deputy Attorney General.”
The Office of the Governor is forwarding Dannehy’s nomination to the Connecticut General Assembly for its advice and consent.