HARTFORD, CT — Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy nominated two justices to the state Supreme Court and one to the Appellate Court Wednesday.
Malloy nominated Appellate Court Justice Maria Araujo Kahn, 53, to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court created by Justice Carmen Espinosa, who elected to take senior status in July. He also nominated Appellate Court Justice Raheem Mullins, 39, to fill the seat of Justice Dennis Eveleigh, who reached the mandatory retirement age of 70 earlier this week.
If Kahn and Mullins are approved by the legislature next year, it will mean that all but three justices currently on the court have been nominated by Malloy. Justice Richard Palmer, Chief Justice Chase Rogers, and Senior Justice Christine Vertefeuille are the only justices still seated who were nominated by previous governors.
The legislature’s Judiciary Committee will hold a public hearing on the nominations soon and the justices will serve in the interim on the high court until the legislature is able to vote on their nominations next year when it reconvenes for the 2018 session.
On Wednesday, Malloy also nominated Superior Court Judge William Bright Jr. to fill one of the two vacancies on the Appellate Court.
At the Superior Court level, there are currently 40 vacancies or anticipated vacancies and at least 12 of those vacancies are not funded. Malloy said once a budget is in place he anticipates he will fill some, but not all of those vacancies.
Malloy said he believes he’s done a good job of nominating justices who represent the population of Connecticut with respect to gender, race, and sexual identification.
Malloy’s tenure as governor came shortly after an outcry from the legislature’s Black and Puerto Rican caucus about the lack of minority representation on the bench.
Malloy has worked to increase the diversity of the Judiciary branch over the past six years.