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Connecticut's first Black chief justice, Richard A. Robinson, to retire in September

Richard Robinson dons his robe in 2018 before being sworn-in as the first African American chief justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court.
Mark Mirko
Hartford Courant
FILE: Richard Robinson dons his robe in 2018 before being sworn-in as the first Black chief justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court.

Connecticut Chief Justice Richard A. Robinson, a veteran jurist who served more than two decades on the bench, including six years as the state's first Black chief justice, is retiring in September.

Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont announced Robinson's planned departure on Tuesday, crediting him with improving public access to the courts and working to ensure equal access to the justice system.

“He is universally admired as a compassionate, thoughtful, and skillful jurist,” the Democratic governor said in a statement. “I’ve appreciated having him as a partner in state government, particularly during the challenging period at the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic when we worked to keep the critical functions of the courts operational.”

A Stamford native, Robinson, 66, worked as staff counsel and later assistant corporation counsel for his home city before being appointed as a Superior Court judge in 2000. He served in courts throughout Connecticut before being appointed to the Connecticut Appellate Court in 2007, and later to the State Supreme Court in 2013.

Robinson was appointed chief justice on May 3, 2018, by former Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy. He was confirmed by unanimous votes in both the House of Representatives and Senate.

Enfield Sen. John Kissel, the top Republican senator on the legislature's Judiciary Committee, called Robinson an “excellent jurist” who has served with “honor and impartiality” throughout his career.

“His legacy in our state’s judicial system will leave a positive impact on our society for years to come,” he said in a statement. “His passion for public service is truly admirable.”

Having a long-held interest in social justice, Robinson served as president of the Stamford branch of the NAACP and chairman of the state Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities.

Lamont has yet to announce his nominee for Robinson's successor.

This story has been updated.

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