Sen. Kissel Applauds Nomination of Connecticut’s First Hispanic Supreme Court Justice [Associated Press]

January 8, 2013

Associated Press

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Appellate Court Judge Carmen E. Espinosa, who came to the U.S. at the age of 3 from Puerto Rico, was nominated Monday by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy to the Connecticut Supreme Court.

Espinosa, 63, was the first Hispanic to serve as a Superior and an Appellate Court judge in Connecticut, and would be the first to serve on the state Supreme Court as well. Espinosa has been on the Appellate Court 21 months, and her nomination to the Supreme Court must be confirmed by the General Assembly, which convenes Wednesday.

“She has been a trailblazer,” Malloy said. “She was the first in her family to graduate from college. She was the first Hispanic judge to serve on the Superior Court, then the first Hispanic judge to sit on the Appellate Court, and (is) now poised to become the first Hispanic justice on the Supreme Court.”

Malloy said Espinosa has had an impressive career and is one of the state’s most respected jurists. “She will serve the people well when confirmed to the bench,” he said.
Sen. John A. Kissel, R-Enfield, the ranking Senate Republican on the legislature’s Judiciary Committee, said he strongly supports Espinosa’s elevation to the Supreme Court and commended Malloy for making the nomination.

“We continue to seek to have a broad range of racial and ethnic minorities within Connecticut’s judicial system, and this is a wonderful selection,” said Kissel, adding that Espinosa has displayed fairness, thoughtfulness, and an even temperament during her two decades as a jurist.

She was appointed to the state Superior Court in 1992.

A mother of three from Southington, Espinosa said she hopes her nomination will serve as an example to Hispanic children that anything is possible if “they stay in school and use education as a bridge to success.”

“To be the first Hispanic to sit on all three levels of the Connecticut judiciary would truly be an honor,” she said, telling reporters after the announcement that “it’s almost surreal” to be nominated to state’s highest court.

Prior to becoming a judge, Espinosa was an FBI agent and an assistant U.S. attorney. She also taught French and Spanish in the Southington public schools. Espinosa graduated from Central Connecticut State University in 1971, received her master’s degree in Hispanic studies from Brown University in 1973, and received her law degree from George Washington University Law School in 1976.

Espinosa’s nomination marked Malloy’s second appointment to the state’s highest court in recent days. On Dec. 27, Malloy announced he was nominating chief legal counsel Andrew J. McDonald, who’s a former state senator, to the state Supreme Court. If confirmed, McDonald would fill a vacancy left by retiring Justice Lubbie Harper Jr. The mandatory retirement age is 70.