While McDonald Supporters Focus on Identity Politics, the Real Issue is His Record

[UPDATE 1/17: FIC Action’s campaign against the confirmation of Andrew McDonald for Chief Justice has been launched. Click here to contact your state legislators and ask them to vote no.]


At first glance I thought it was the media making Andrew McDonald’s homosexuality the issue in Gov. Malloy’s nomination of McDonald for Chief Justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court. But no, it was actually McDonald himself and his supporters. Most damning of all is Rep. Tong’s claim that the nomination “has nothing to do with one person.” Tong seems to imply that what matters most to him is that McDonald is gay.

Look, I get what they’re doing. If you vote against the gay guy you’re a bigot. But McDonald’s nomination should be rejected for reasons that have nothing to do with his homosexuality.

McDonald has a record of putting his own politics ahead of the law.

He did it as a State Senator in the case of SB 1098–the bill which would have stripped Connecticut’s Catholic bishops and priests of financial authority over their own churches, in flagrant violation of the United States Constitution–and he did it as a State Supreme Court Justice.

When FIC first opposed McDonald’s nomination to the bench in 2013 one high-ranking Republican State Senator–who had voted against Lubbie Harper because Harper had put his personal views above the law in voting for same-sex marriage–told us he had spoken with McDonald and McDonald assured him he would not do as Harper did. So he voted to confirm McDonald.

You know what happened next. As Gov. Malloy’s attorney, McDonald had advised the governor to sign into law a repeal of the death penalty on the cockamamie theory that it would somehow not apply to those already on death row. Once on the bench, McDonald ruled the exact opposite of what he had advised the governor, abolishing the death penalty altogether and letting the men who tortured and murdered Dr. Petit’s family in Cheshire off death row.

There is now a gun rights case pending before the State Supreme Court in which many fear McDonald will again put his personal views above the law. The CT GOP, which had been mostly asleep at the wheel when the State Supreme Court put politics above the law in inventing same-sex marriage in 2008, has suddenly woken up to the threat of judicial activism now that it involves the right to bear arms or commuting the death sentence of the Cheshire murderers.

But the issue is not the death penalty or guns or even same-sex marriage. And it is certainly not about Andrew McDonald being gay.

The issue is that Andrew McDonald is a judicial activist who puts his personal views above the law and then imposes those views by judicial fiat. He will be in an even greater position to do that, to legislate from the bench, as Chief Justice. And that is why his nomination for Chief Justice should be rejected.