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Justice McDonald receives final legislative confirmation

January 15, 2021 GMT

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut State Supreme Court Justice Andrew McDonald received final legislative confirmation Friday to serve a second eight-year term on the bench as an associate justice, two years after he lost a bid to become the court’s chief justice.

The state Senate voted 26-6 with two absent in favor of McDonald’s re-nomination by Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont. The action came one day after the House of Representatives also voted to confirm him.

The six who opposed McDonald were all Republicans. While none spoke against the confirmation, Sen. John Kissel, D-Enfield, noted that McDonald still remains a “somewhat controversial” figure. Kissel voted in favor of McDonald’s confirmation.

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Republicans have in the past accused McDonald — a former Democratic state senator and former legal counsel when former Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy was in office — as an “activist” jurist. It’s a claim McDonald has denied.

Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney, D-New Haven, lauded his former colleague as being “one of the most probing and penetrating questioners” on the state’s highest court. He also called him one of the “true shining lights” of the judiciary.

The confirmation of McDonald and a handful of other judges took place sooner than originally planned. A vote had been scheduled for Jan. 20, the same day as the presidential inauguration, but House leaders decided to hold the first judicial confirmation votes on Thursday because of possible protests. The FBI has warned about possible violent incidents at all 50 state Capitols.

Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff, D-Norwalk, wished his colleagues and their families well and thanked the state Capitol police and others for the various safety precautions that have been taken given the recent unrest in Washington.

Lamont said Thursday there are plans to have state employees telecommute “wherever they can just to bring down the density of people in and around the capitol” over the coming days. Members of the Connecticut National Guard will be available if necessary, he said. Lamont has already sent about 100 Guard members to Washington to help with security for the inauguration.

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Story corrects that the six senators who opposed McDonald were all Republicans, not Democrats.