Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s nine judicial nominees received legislative approval Wednesday after a compromise to include reporting reforms to the nomination process were included in the budget bill.
Rep. Ken Green, D-Hartford, raised concerns about the Judicial Selection Commission process during the floor debate on Laura Flynn Baldini, the youngest of the judicial nominees.
Green, a member of the Judiciary Committee, said what the committee learned from the recent selection process is that 30 to 35 percent of the nominees are deemed qualified by the commission. Last year 38 were interviewed for judicial nominations and 14 made it through the process.
“In questioning the nominees we found out there’s some bugs in the process,“ Green said.
In addition to the “bugs” in the process, Green and other members of the black and Puerto Rican caucus were upset to learn that all nine of Rell’s nominees were white. The black and Puerto Rican caucus held up nominations for one day by the caucus, while they negotiated with Rell to nominate another minority to the bench.
Sen. Donald DeFronzo, D-New Britain, said there seems to be some degree of secrecy regarding the selection of judges.
Sen. Andrew McDonald, co-chairman of the legislature’s Judiciary Committee, said as part of the budget they changed several of the reporting requirements for the Judicial Selection Commission, “so we have a better idea of the numbers and demographics of who is applying and what the racial and ethnic background of the candidates is.“
“We’re concerned about the lack of the racial diversity amongst these nominees,” McDonald said. “I am hopeful we’ll see another nominee before Rell finishes her tenure.”
All nine of the nominees passed both legislative chambers.
Click here to read about early Wednesday negotiations on the nominees.