Confirmation of federal prosecutor Sandra Slack Glover to the Connecticut Supreme Court appeared in jeopardy Tuesday as leaders of the legislature’s Judiciary Committee reported no immediate plans to advance her nomination out of their panel.
Glover, Gov. Ned Lamont’s pick to fill a vacancy on the state Supreme Court, sat before the committee for more than six hours on Monday during a probing hearing which often centered on Glover’s 2017 signing of an endorsement of now-Justice Amy Coney Barrett to serve as a federal appellate court judge.
Committee members met for more than an hour in closed door negotiations on Monday, then adjourned without voting on Glover’s nomination. On Tuesday, the committee’s ranking House Republican, Rep. Craig Fishbein of Wallingford, said Glover fell well short of the necessary votes to advance from the panel.
Although he would not provide a specific vote count, Fishbein said fewer than 10 of the panel’s 38 members had indicated support.
“And that’s with twisting arms,” he said.
Sen. Gary Winfield, a New Haven Democrat who co-chairs the judicial panel, declined to gauge the committee’s support for Glover, but did not deny reports that she lacked enough votes to advance.
Asked about the likelihood of momentum shifting in Glover’s favor, Winfield said it seemed unlikely.
“This building is a building of possibilities,” Winfield said, “having said that I think it would be difficult to turn this ship around. I’m not sure how you do that.”
Glover faced heightened scrutiny on Monday in part due to the letter in support of Barrett. Both Glover and Barrett served as U.S. Supreme Court clerks in 1998. Glover was one of more than 30 former clerks to sign the letter. She told lawmakers she regrets the decision given Barrett’s subsequent role in helping to overturn long standing abortion rights protections.
More than one member of the committee argued that Barrett’s positions on abortion rights were well known by 2017. Other concerns related to Glover’s inexperience in Connecticut courts, as opposed to federal courts, and the perception that she had been fast-tracked through the process ahead of other candidates.
During an unrelated press conference Tuesday, the governor told reporters he stood by his nomination of Glover and praised testimony before the committee. Lamont said his administration would be lobbying lawmakers to move the nomination through the legislative process.
“I think my team is calling a number of folks who had expressed questions about her resume and background, where she stood. I’ve talked to leadership and we’ve just got to continue to reintroduce her to folks,” Lamont said.
“I thought she was great,” he said. “I thought she showed she has the qualifications to be a really strong Supreme Court justice.”
Both House Speaker Matt Ritter and Judiciary Committee co-chair, Rep. Steve Stafstrom, D-Bridgeport, expressed support for Glover during a pre-session media availability on Tuesday. Ritter said that Barrett’s role in the Dobbs v. Jackson decision overturning Roe v. Wade had provoked emotional responses in many members of his caucus.
“There are some people who just can’t get over that,” Ritter said. “Those conversations have to happen. Politics is a lot of luck and timing. Whether you are running for higher office or get appointed and given what happened with Dobbs and the timing of this is just really emotional and a lot of us can understand and respect that position too. It’s hard.”
Concerns come from both political parties. On Tuesday, Fishbein pointed to Glover’s resume as an attorney practicing exclusively in federal court without experience in state courts.
“I think on both sides of the aisle, we were pretty clear that she didn’t have the acumen,” Fishbein said.
Winfield said there were also concerns among members from the LBGT community and from the Black community about procedural-related responses to questions centering on the meaning of justice.
The panel has until next month to act on Glover’s nomination. Winfield declined to speculate about what action the committee would eventually take on the matter.
“I hope whatever we do, it doesn’t go back and forth too much,” he said. “There is a person involved here and I am concerned about what this looks like for that person. So hopefully we come to a resolution in short order.”