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Malloy Announces Second Choice For New Chief Justice

Governor Dannel Malloy
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If approved by the legislature, Richard Robinson would be the first black chief justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court

A little over a week after his first pick for chief justice of the state Supreme Court was turned down by the state senate, Governor Dannel Malloy announced his new choice Thursday.

Associate Supreme Court Justice Richard Allan Robinson has been an associate justice since 2013. Previously he served as an appellate and superior court judge, and as staff counsel for the City of Stamford, where Robinson actually worked with Malloy’s first pick for chief justice, fellow associate justice Andrew McDonald.

Malloy said Robinson is "eminently qualified" and he's proud to offer him the nomination.

“He is a distinguished jurist, with long service,” Malloy told reporters. “He's the second most senior person, actually the third most senior person on the bench, and based on everything I knew about him, thought it was appropriate to name him.”

If approved by the legislature, Robinson would be the first African American chief justice in Connecticut.

It's uncertain whether Robinson's nomination will receive the same scrutiny and criticism by Republicans in the General Assembly as McDonald. During debate on McDonald’s nomination in both the House and Senate, Republican lawmakers accused McDonald of legislating from the bench, and criticized what they perceived as his lack of judicial experience, despite serving five years on the state Supreme Court.

Senate Republican President Len Fasano, who joined his caucus and voted against McDonald's nomination, had glowing words for Robinson when he spoke last month on Connecticut Public Radio's The Colin McEnroe Show.

“He's an impressive individual,” said Fasano. “He was really, really good on the appellate court where he has an abundancy of writings. I could see me getting behind Justice Robinson.”

Malloy also nominated Superior Court Judge Steven D. Ecker to take Robinson's seat on on the Supreme Court should he be approved by the General Assembly.

Ray Hardman is Connecticut Public’s Arts and Culture Reporter. He is the host of CPTV’s Emmy-nominated original series Where Art Thou? Listeners to Connecticut Public Radio may know Ray as the local voice of Morning Edition, and later of All Things Considered.

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