Committee approves nine judicial nominees

The legislature’s Judiciary Committee today recommended the confirmation of nine white judicial appointees whose nominations had been held up by the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus.

The nominations now will be considered by the House and Senate, where their fate could be linked to ongoing budget negotiations.

A promise Gov. M. Jodi Rell made Monday to nominate a minority candidate in coming months ended a delaying action began earlier Monday by the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus.

“Gov. Rell feels strongly that more diversity is needed on Connecticut’s bench – and, frankly, throughout state government. The governor, however, may only nominate judges from a list of pre-approved candidates,” said Rich Harris, a spokesman for Rell.

In a report compiled last summer 24 of the state’s 171 Superior Court judges were minorities.

Harris said 4 percent of the candidates on the current list approved by the Judicial Selection Commission are minorities.

About 15 percent of Rell’s previous judicial nominees are minorities, and Rell is committed to diversity, Harris said.

“For that reason, the Governor is committed to appointing a qualified, approved minority candidate to the bench in the coming months, following a thorough and rigorous recruiting and vetting process,” he said.

“I take the governor at her word,” said Rep. Gary Holder-Winfield, D-New Haven, a member of the caucus. “The issue is not going to go away.”

Only the nomination of Laura Flynn Baldini, 39, of West Hartford continued to generate significant opposition today: Her nomination was approved, 33 to 10. Several committee members called her inexperienced and said she was unimpressive during her confirmation hearing.

Baldini is a 1992 graduate of Yale University who obtained her law degree from Seton Hall University in 1996. Now in private practice, she worked previously at Updike, Kelly & Spellacy from 1998 to 2003 and at Ohrenstein & Brown from 1996 to 1998.

The other nominees included Rell’s budget chief, Robert L. Genuario, and her public safety commissioner, John A. Danaher III.

Genuario, 57, of Norwalk has been secretary of the Office of Policy and Management, the governor’s budget agency, since 2005. He served previously as a state senator. He received both his undergraduate and law degrees from Villanova University.

Danaher, 59, of West Hartford is a 1972 graduate of Fairfield University. He received a master’s degree from the University of Hartford in 1977 and his law degree from the University of Connecticut in 1980. He served more than 20 years as an assistant U.S. attorney and was the interim U.S. attorney.

The other nominees:

John L. Carbonneau, 54, of East Lyme, who is an attorney in private practice. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Connecticut in 1977 and his law degree from the Catholic University of America in 1980. He worked previously as an attorney at Kaplan & Brennan from 1996 to 2000 and at the Connecticut Laborers’ Legal Services Fund from 1984 to 1996.

Susan Q. Cobb, 49, of West Hartford has been an assistant attorney general for Connecticut from 1994 to the present. She received her undergraduate degree from Catholic University of America in 1983 and her law degree from the University of Connecticut in 1988. She worked previously for Tyler, Cooper & Alcorn from 1989 to 1994.

Susan A. Connors, 44, of Old Lyme has been an attorney with Krevolin, Roth & Connors since 1995. She received both her undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Connecticut, graduating with her law degree in 1991.

Jane B. Emons, 59, of Woodbridge has served as an assistant state attorney general since 1996 and worked previously in the New Haven State’s Attorney’s office from 1978 to 1988. She graduated from Kirkland College in 1971, received a master’s degree from the University of North Carolina in 1972 and obtained her law degree from Suffolk University in 1977.

Kathleen McNamara, 56, of East Hartford has been a state prosecutor since 1990. She obtained her law degree from Western New England School of Law while serving as an East Hartford police officer. She served in the East Hartford department from 1979 to 1990. McNamara obtained her undergraduate degree from Northeastern University in 1978.

David M. Sheridan, 54, of Manchester has been an attorney with Levy & Droney since 1990. Sheridan graduated from the University of Arizona in 1981 with two undergraduate degrees. He received his law degree from the University of Connecticut in 1985. Before joining Levy & Droney, Sheridan worked for Cohen & Channin from 1985 to 1990.