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Judge Christine E. Keller CT JUDICIAL BRANCH

Christine E. Keller, one of Connecticut’s longest serving judges, won confirmation as a justice of the state Supreme Court on Thursday on a 34-1 vote by the state Senate after a unanimous endorsement a day earlier by the House.

The ranking Republican on the legislature’s Judiciary Committee noted her family connections: She is the mother of House Majority Leader Matt Ritter, D-Hartford, and wife of the former House speaker, Thomas D. Ritter. But Sen. John Kissel, R-Enfield, raised the connections only to deem them irrelevant.

Keller, 67, has a long record of accomplishment in 20 years as a Superior Court judge and seven as an Appellate Court judge, Kissel said.

“She stands on her own two feet,” Kissel said.

The Senate also confirmed the nominations of Joan K. Alexander, José A. Suarez and Melanie L. Cradle to the Appellate Court. The vote was 34-1 for Cradle and unanimous for the other two.

Sen. Rob Sampson, R-Wolcott, cast the dissenting votes against Keller and Cradle. He offered no rationale on the Senate floor, but he said later that he did not view either jurist as being sufficiently committed to interpreting the constitution as written. “The whole living and breathing document argument, I think they are way on the other side of it from me,” he said.

All four jurists have been serving on an interim basis since a preliminary confirmation votes by the legislature’s Judiciary Committee, as is common when judicial nominations are made when the legislature is not in session. Gov. Ned Lamont made the nominations in July.

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Mark PazniokasCapitol Bureau Chief

Mark is the Capitol Bureau Chief and a co-founder of CT Mirror. He is a frequent contributor to WNPR, a former state politics writer for The Hartford Courant and Journal Inquirer, and contributor for The New York Times.

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