Senator Boucher Statement on Justice McDonald vote

March 28, 2018

Justice McDonald and I always had a good relationship as colleagues working together in the state Senate. In fact, even though he had never served as a sitting judge, I voted in favor of his appointment to the Connecticut Supreme Court as an associate justice, a position in which he will continue to serve even after yesterday’s vote.

The position of Chief Justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court plays a different role than the Associate Justices and therefore requires a deeper analysis and a review of a record that did not exist five years ago.

During the time leading up to the Senate’s vote on Justice McDonald, I received several calls from those who worked at the Supreme Court with the judge and have since retired. They strongly opposed his appointment to Chief Justice as they felt he has minimal experience and was not the right choice to lead the entire judicial branch of government.

Before the March 27 vote, I also researched why the Judiciary Committee gave a negative recommendation to Justice McDonald. The primary objections committee members expressed had to do with too many examples where they believed Justice McDonald was legislating from the bench, as well as disregarding judicial precedent by bringing information that was outside the purview of the court into the decision making process. Another concern raised by the members was a number of situations where questions were raised about whether the justice should have recused himself from hearing particular cases. These concerns, as well as an affidavit from a former colleague of the judge calls into question his view of judicial precedent and the limits of the Supreme Court, items that are key to being a leader and consensus builder as Chief Justice.

After a careful review of the information available, my final conclusion was that raising Justice McDonald to the position of Chief Justice would not be appropriate. However as previously noted, he will continue to serve our state and bring his voice and expertise to our state’s highest court.

I am deeply disappointed by accusations that my vote on Justice McDonald’s appointment would have anything to do with his sexual orientation. During my time in the legislature, my support for measures to uphold the rights of LGBTQ individuals has been informed by my own experiences with this community, particularly within my own family. This is why I worked to include sexual orientation in our state’s anti-discrimination statutes when I was in the House. In the Senate, I voted for legalizing same sex marriages and co-sponsored legislation to prohibit the use of conversion therapy.

Anyone claiming that prejudice against LGBTQ individuals had anything to do with the March 27 vote clearly does not know me or my record.

If you would like to discuss this personally, I would be happy to hear from you.