Gov. Lamont’s Supreme Court pick in limbo after lawmakers delay vote

In 2017, Sandra Slack Glover signed a letter endorsing then-Notre Dame law professor Amy Coney Barrett for the appellate court bench, calling her “smart, honorable, and fair-minded.”

John Craven

May 15, 2023, 10:22 PM

Updated 337 days ago

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The fate of Gov. Ned Lamont’s latest state Supreme Court pick is in question, after lawmakers postponed her nomination vote Monday evening. The delay followed a grueling day of questions over abortion – and a controversial letter she signed six years ago.
LETTER CONTROVERSY
In 2017, Sandra Slack Glover signed a letter endorsing then-Notre Dame law professor Amy Coney Barrett for the appellate court bench, calling her “smart, honorable, and fair-minded.” Five years later, as a U.S. Supreme Court justice, Barrett voted to overturn Roe v Wade.
Glover told the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee that the court’s conservative majority got the decision wrong.
“I support a woman's right to choose. Full stop,” she said. “Speaking as an attorney, [the] Dobbs [decision] was wrong – and egregiously so.”
Glover wasn’t alone in signing the letter; so did all 33 surviving clerks who worked alongside Barrett during the 1998 U.S. Supreme Court term. During her confirmation hearing, Glover said she now regrets the decision.
“I'm not going to demonize her, but when I look at that letter now, I can't stand by – I'm no longer comfortable with some of those statements,” said Glover.
Some Democrats remained wary.
“Is this something that you would do again – to write a letter supporting someone who took away the rights over every woman in this country?” asked state Sen. Ceci Maher (D-Westport).
“I thought the guardrails were stronger,” replied Glover. “I thought the institutions would hold. I was pretty naïve.”
State Rep. Pat Dillon (D-New Haven) added: “I am concerned about your judgment, That is, if you're asked to sign something, can you look outside the four corners of that letter?”
Gov. Ned Lamont said the concerns are overblown.
“The clerks of all the Supreme Court justices, including Ruth Bader Ginsberg clerks – everybody wrote a letter in support of their fellow clerk,” he said Monday.
REPUBLICAN CONCERNS
Glover also took fire from GOP lawmakers, who raised concerns about her lack of experience in the state court system. Glover is as a veteran federal prosecutor recommended by Lamont’s former chief counsel, Nora Dannehy, who also came from the Connecticut U.S. Attorney’s Office.
“How can I justify supporting you when so many other people have gone through this torturous process?,” asked state Sen. John Kissel (R-Enfield). “There are Superior Court judges waiting decades to be considered to move up the ladder.”
Other Republicans pressed Glover on whether the constitution should be interpreted as its original writers intended, or if prior court precedents should carry more weight. Glover said the latter.
WHAT’S NEXT?
After meeting privately in caucus for more than an hour, the Judiciary Committee co-chair, state Rep. Steve Stafstrom (D-Bridgeport), postponed a vote on Glover “given the hour.” It’s unclear when the committee will debate and vote on her nomination
Meantime, Lamont is standing by his nominee.
“Sandy Glover's going to be a great Supreme Court justice,” he said. “Uniquely qualified.”
If Glover survives a confirmation vote, it will head to the full General Assembly, where she faces another fight in the coming weeks.


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