The co-chairmen of the legislature’s Judiciary Committee wrote this letter to Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell Wednesday asking her to delay the nominations of a dozen Superior Court judges.
“We write to ask you to wait until after the current budget crisis is resolved, including its impact on the Judicial Branch, before considering any new nominations of Superior Court judges,” the co-chairman, Sen. Andrew McDonald and Rep. Michael Lawlor, wrote in their letter to Rell.
McDonald and Lawlor estimated that the 12 positions will cost the Judicial Branch $3 million annually.
While the decision to nominate judges is within the governor’s purview, Rell recently vetoed a bill that would have exempted the Judicial Branch from cutting $7.8 million over the next two years. That decision has forced the branch to start closing courthouses, law libraries, and other programs.
“We understand that the appointment of judges is within the purview of the Governor and the Legislature,“ Chief Court Administrator Barbara M. Quinn said in a statement Wednesday afternoon. “But, we also understand that budget cuts have been made, and these cuts have directly and negatively impacted the Judicial Branch and our ability to serve the public.”
“We currently have 15 judicial vacancies,“ Quinn said. “Our assessment is that filling 6 of these vacancies will adequately meet the demands for judges in the court system at this time.”
It’s unknown at the moment if Rell has been interviewing candidates for the vacancies.
Rell’s spokeswoman Donna Tommelleo would say only, “The views and opinions of Representative Lawlor and Senator McDonald are always warmly received and appreciated.”
No further comment on the topic was forthcoming from Rell’s office.