Senate Republicans in Connecticut on
Tuesday banded together to block the confirmation of Andrew J.
McDonald as chief justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court.
One Democrat, Senator Joan Hartley of
Waterbury, joined the chamber's Republicans to reject McDonald's
confirmation with a 19 to 16 vote, The Connecticut Mirror
McDonald, who narrowly won the
endorsement of the House earlier this month, made history as the
state's first openly gay Supreme Court chief justice nominee.
McDonald, 51, already has made history as the first openly gay member
of the Connecticut Supreme Court as well as the first to serve as a
Republicans insisted his sexual
orientation or party affiliation had nothing to do with their
opposition to McDonald's nomination. Republicans said that their
opposition stemmed from how McDonald ruled in a handful of cases,
including a decision on eliminating capital punishment in
Senator Beth Bye, a Democrat from
Hartford and the Senate's only openly gay member, disagreed.
“So forgive my skepticism that this
has nothing to do with Justice McDonald being gay,” she said,
noting how McDonald's confirmation was a dramatic departure from
McDonald's nomination became the
subject of a political campaign complete with media ads, a first in
Connecticut for a Supreme Court nomination. Opponents include a
website called thefamilycourtcircus.com, which referred to McDonald's
nomination under the headline “Jewdicial Sodomites.” Christian
conservative Mat Staver, who helms Liberty Counsel, also attacked
McDonald's nomination, saying he's incapable of giving Christians a
“fair shake” in court.
“The question is: are you going to
get a fair shake out of this individual who identifies as someone
based upon his sexual practices, who is identified and identifies
himself based upon certain behavior?” Staver
said. “Are you gonna get a fair shake? I don’t think so.”
Senator Len Fasano, the Republican
leader in the Senate, announced on Monday that the GOP would vote as
a bloc to block McDonald's nomination.