Dead at midnight, judicial nominations reborn in morning

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on Thursday morning resubmitted the names of four judicial nominees whom the General Assembly failed to confirm in the 2015 session that ended at midnight Wednesday.

The legislature’s Judiciary Committee had unanimously endorsed all four for confirmation and none were publicly controversial, suggesting the failure to act was directed at Malloy, not his selections.

“If it was a message, I missed it,” Malloy said.

House Speaker J. Brendan Sharkey, D-Hamden, faulted Malloy for waiting to make the nominations until May 12, three weeks and one day before the legislature’s constitutional adjournment deadline.

In the first judicial nominations of his second term, Malloy named Alice A. Bruno of New Britain, John B. Farley of West Hartford, Gerald L. Harmon of Southington and Edward T. Krumeich II of Greenwich to the Superior Court.

“Frankly, offering up judicial nominees with three weeks left in the session is always problematic,” Sharkey said. “There just wasn’t enough time.”

Sharkey said the nominations were not employed as an end-of-session bargaining chip in the legislators’ budget negotiations with the administration.

Aside from the lateness of their submission, another factor was the expectation of a lengthy floor debate fueled by what Sharkey says was dissatisfaction by the House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, R-Derby.

“It was clear this was not going to be a simple call it, vote it, get it kind of situation. It was going to be a major discussion on the floor, and we just didn’t have the time to dedicate to that,” Sharkey said.

Legislative leaders often get to recommend a judicial nominee, though usually when the administration is nominating a larger class of judges.

“Certainly, I would have loved to have one of those picks,” Klarides said. But she said she never threatened a lengthy confirmation debate as a protest.

“We never talked about extended debate at all,” she said.

The nominees now will be reviewed again by the Judiciary Committee. If approved by the committee as expected, they would serve as interim judges, subject to confirmation at the next regular session of the General Assembly.

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