Affinity Bar Groups Eye Appointment Of Next Justice
According to a recent article in the Connecticut Post, judicial observers have named the possible front runner to be Appellate Court Judge Richard Robinson. As the only appellate court judge in the state who is black, Richard is also well known to Malloy. Robinson was the assistant corporation counsel for the city of Stamford when Malloy was mayor.
Another African-American jurist believed to be on the radar is Superior Court Judge Angela C. Robinson, a former Bridgeport lawyer and no relation to the Appellate Court judge.
Malloy's spokesman, Andrew Doba, would not confirm the names of anyone being considered, but he stressed diversity will be a priority for Malloy. "The governor has always been deeply committed to nominating highly qualified, experienced individuals of diverse backgrounds to serve on the bench," Doba said.
Under Chief Justice Chase T. Rogers, the Supreme Court normally hears cases en banc, meaning with all seven justices. However, Malloy doesn't have to necessarily have a replacement named before Norcott leaves the bench. Rogers can pull in retired justices and lower court judges to sit with the court on individual cases.
Any pick Malloy makes will have to be confirmed by the legislature.
At the state's largest affinity bar organization, the George W. Crawford Black Bar Association, leaders said they anticipate that Malloy will consider diversity of experience, as well as ethnic and cultural background. But ethnicity isn't everything, they said.
"We anticipate that Governor Malloy will nominate an individual who not only has a deep understanding of the law, but one who has also shown commitment to equal access and fair play in our legal system," said Genea O. Bell, an employment lawyer with Jackson Lewis and president of the Crawford bar. "It is our hope that the next justice will bring to the court a diversity of philosophy and perspective that reflects the growing racial and cultural diversity of Connecticut's population and legal community."
She declined to speculate on who a good replacement for Norcott might be. "There are many members of the bar who exemplify those qualities," she said.
Edward C. Lee, who is president of the Connecticut Asian Pacific Bar Association, said the appointment of an Asian Pacific-American person to the Supreme Court would help the state's justice system better reflect the state's population. There are currently five APA judges on the Superior Court, but none in the appellate division, he said.