Christine Stuart / ctnewsjunkie

HARTFORD, CT — Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced his intention Monday to make Justice Andrew McDonald the first openly gay chief justice of any state in the country.

“He has a deep understanding of the role and the impact that the justice system has on the everyday lives of Connecticut residents, and the value of ensuring equality and fairness through the court’s many responsibilities,” Malloy said in making the announcement at a press conference.

Malloy first nominated McDonald to the Supreme Court in 2013. McDonald, a former state Senator from Stamford, was confirmed in January 2013.

“The prospect of leading that court as chief justice would be the honor of my professional life,” McDonald said.

McDonald and Malloy have been friends for years and the announcement doesn’t come as a surprise to many who expected Malloy to nominate his friend.

At a press conference in the governor’s briefing room, McDonald complimented the tenure of Chief Justice Chase Rogers and said he hopes to continue “her tireless work administering justice on behalf of the people of Connecticut in a fair, transparent, and efficient manner.”

Rogers announced her retirement last November.

McDonald, who never served on the court before his confirmation to the Supreme Court in 2013, spent most of his legal career as a partner in Pullman and Comley. He also spent eight years as a state Senator from Stamford before becoming Malloy’s chief legal counsel. Following that, Malloy nominated McDonald to the Supreme Court.

Malloy will officially submit the McDonald’s nomination when the session starts on Feb. 7.

Malloy said he’s not worried about McDonald’s confirmation hearing. He said his first nomination was overwhelmingly supported.

When McDonald was first confirmed to the Supreme Court in 2013, the Senate approved his nomination 30-3, while the House approved it 125-20.

Rep. Vincent Candelora, R-North Branford, told Dennis House on Face the State on Sunday that he would likely vote against McDonald’s nomination.

“On a personal level it would be difficult for me to confirm him as a chief justice,” Candelora said.

He said even though some Republicans voted against McDonald he’s not sure there would be a concerted effort to block his nomination.

“Justice Andrew McDonald is a brilliant and thoughtful jurist,” Senate President Martin Looney, D-New Haven, said. “Throughout his distinguished career in public service as Corporation Counsel for the City of Stamford, as State Senate co-chair of the Judiciary Committee, as chief counsel to the governor, and as a member of the State Supreme Court, Justice McDonald has been a trailblazer across all three branches of state government.

McDonald has served as an associate justice on the court since January 2013. He also serves as the chairman of the Connecticut Criminal Justice Commission, the group which is charged with appointing all state prosecutors within the Division of Criminal Justice.