• Dannehy And Legislative Interrogatories

    September 17, 2023
    Dannehy — Connecticut Law Tribune

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    columnist has written a piece critical of Nora Dannehy, Governor Ned Lamont’s choice to fill an open position on Connecticut’s State Supreme Court, one of the few critical pieces written about Dannehy, who appears to be a shoe-in for the open position. The General Assembly is dominated by Democrats, few of whom would wish to oppose the nomination of Dannehy on pain of incurring frowns at tea time from majority members of Connecticut’s ruling party.

    The nominee does not check the Democrat “diversity” box, the columnist remarked. Following George Floyd’s assassination at the hands of a police officer, “Lamont told members of the legislature’s Black and Puerto Rican Caucus, ‘I need your help when recruiting not just teachers but judges… we have a long way to go.’”

    The columnist points out that “Lamont’s four nominees to the State Supreme Court could be mistaken for the executive committee at the Greenwich Country Club… He [Lamont] talks about diversity, but the state’s highest court has been a no-go zone for transforming his words into meaningful action.”

    Dannehy, “the third of the seven justices on the court to snag an appointment with no previous judicial experience… earned a place in the state’s hall of heroes with her historic 2004 prosecution of felonious former Gov. John Rowland,” for which Democrat polemicists will be forever grateful. But – what should we make of Lamont’s challenge: “When I talk about diversity, it’s not just race, color and creed… I think a diversity of background is really important on the court.”

    “Diversity,” like “equity,” has become a totem of the left in the Democrat Party’s neo-progressive era.

    Of course, no political commentary would be complete without mention of former President Donald Trump, the Democrats favorite political piñata. Dannehy, it transpires, returned to the Justice Department from a six year stint as “United Technologies Corporation’s associate general counsel for Global Ethics and Compliance,” to join “her former colleague John Durham to investigate what then President Donald Trump called ‘the crime of the century,’ the FBI’s investigation into Trump’s 2016 campaign.”

    Actually, Durham was called upon to provide definitive counsel on Crossfire Hurricane, the FBI’s hapless investigation of claims made by prominent Democrats, later determined to be based on fictitious “evidence,” that Trump had “colluded” with Russian operatives to deny prospective Democrat president Hillary Clinton entrée to the White House.

    Following a richly detailed investigation, the Durham Report determined that the Democrat approved Crossfire Hurricane version of history was, in large part, mendacious bunk.

    Should any of these questions figure in Dannehy’s almost certain appointment to Connecticut’s high court?

    Would it be improper for legislators questioning Dannehy to ask, “Do you agree with the conclusions presented in the Durham report?” Or, “You disassociated yourself from the Durham investigation before a final report had been issued. Why?” Or, “The Supreme Court recently reversed its Roe v. Wade decision. The high court found that abortion, essentially a political matter, should be decided by state legislatures, rather than judicial bodies. In Connecticut, the state incorporated Roe v. Wade into its statutes way back in 1991. Do you agree with the high court’s decision in Dobbs v Jackson, which would seem to protect Connecticut citizens from future high court and superior court decisions that in Connecticut affirms Roe v Wade through state statute?

    Several blue states, Connecticut among them, are considering denying Trump a place on state ballots. Do you consider such measures an affront to “democracy?”

    Given that 43 justices of the U.S. Supreme Court – some of them, such as Felix Frankfurter, Louis Brandeis, Joseph Story, John Marshall and John Jay, undoubted heroes of any prospective justice – had no trial experience before being elevated to the high court, would you agree that prospective justices who have had no trial experience should be eliminated as  court justices?

    This last question likely would be answerable, but not the preceding questions listed above, many of which may be shunted aside by pointing out that prospective justices are forbidden to answer questions, even hypothetical ones, concerning any subject that may figure in future cases they may be asked to adjudicate.

    Because the legislature is forbidden to ask pertinent questions and make pertinent remarks, it confines itself to impertinences such as this one, a nuclear-tipped rhetorical missile lobbed in the direction of prospective Supreme Court nominee Judge Robert Bork by U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy: “Robert Bork's America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens' doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists would be censored at the whim of government, and the doors of the federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens for whom the judiciary is often the only protector of the individual rights that are the heart of our democracy.”

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    Don Pesci

    Don Pesci is a political columnist of long standing, about 40 years, who has written for various state newspapers, among them The Journal Inquirer, the Waterbury Republican American, the New London Day, the Litchfield County Times, the Torrington Register Citizen and other Register Citizen papers. He maintains a blog, among the oldest of its kind in Connecticut, which serves as a repository and archive, for his columns; there are approximately 3,000 entrees in Connecticut Commentary: Red Notes From A Blue State, virtually all of them political columns stretching back to 2004. He also appears once a week Wednesdays on 1080 WTIC Newstalk radio with Will Marotti.

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