Gov. Ned Lamont on Wednesday nominated 11 men and nine women as judges of the Superior Court, including three former lawmakers and his commissioner of veterans affairs, Thomas J. Saadi.
The former lawmakers are Daniel J. Fox of Stamford and Paul R. Doyle of Wethersfield, both Democrats, and Jason Welch of Bristol, a Republican who served in the Senate and currently is the Senate GOP’s legal counsel.
The class is Lamont’s third major group of judicial nominees since taking office in 2019. The trial court has 40 vacancies and 185 authorized positions. Lamont did not name a successor to Maria Araujo Kahn, who recently resigned from the state Supreme Court to join the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit.
He also nominated two women Wednesday as family support magistrates.
“Selecting nominees to become judges is one of the most important duties that I have as governor, because these individuals will become responsible for ensuring that justice is administered fairly and without prejudice and that everyone who comes before the court is treated equally and with respect,” Lamont said.
As was the case with previous classes, Lamont nominated nearly an equal number of men and women to the bench.
As of last June, men held 54% of the 155 filled positions on the trial bench; 68% of the trial judges identified as white and 32% as minority or multi-racial.
“Our court system works best when it reflects the diversity, experience and understanding of the people it serves,” Lamont said.
Fox, who was reelected to the House in November, resigned before the 2023 session began in anticipation of an appointment to the bench. Doyle, who served in the House and Senate, did not seek reelection in 2018. Welch did not seek reelection in 2014.
Connecticut governors can only choose nominees from a pool of candidates vetted and approved by the Judicial Selection Commission. Nominees now face a hearing and confirmation votes by the General Assembly.
The new class includes eight lawyers in private practice, one academic and the rest in local, state and federal legal jobs.
The nominees for Superior Court:
- Mark Altermatt, 62, of Bolton. Altermatt graduated from Washington and Lee University and Syracuse University College of Law. He is a partner at David G. Hill and Associates.
- Moira Buckley, 53, of Glastonbury. Buckley graduated from St. Anselm College and Quinnipiac University School of Law. She is an assistant federal defender in the Office of the Federal Defender for the District of Connecticut.
- Patrick Caruso, 55, of Madison. Caruso graduated from the University of Connecticut and Quinnipiac College School of Law. He is an assistant United States attorney.
- Vikki Cooper, 52, of Fairfield. Cooper graduated from John Jay College of Criminal Justice and Quinnipiac University School of Law. She is deputy corporation counsel for the city of Stamford.
- Gregory C. Davis, 60, of Bloomfield. Davis graduated from Tufts University and Georgetown University Law Center. He is a senior counsel at The Travelers Companies and is deputy mayor of Bloomfield.
- Lynn Alvey Dawson, 64, of Cheshire. Dawson graduated from Boston University and Suffolk University School. She is a solo practitioner.
- Karen L. DeMeola, 53, of Tolland. DeMeola graduated from the University of Connecticut and University of Connecticut School of Law. She is the assistant dean for diversity, belonging and community engagement at UConn Law. She is former president of the Connecticut Bar Association.
- Paul R. Doyle, 59, of Wethersfield. Doyle graduated from Colby College and the University of Connecticut School of Law. He is a partner of Kennedy Doyle LLC, a general practice law firm, and formerly served on the Wethersfield Town Council, 12 years as a member of the Connecticut House of Representatives and 12 years as a member of the Connecticut Senate.
- Daniel J. Fox, 46, of Stamford. Fox graduated from Loyola University and New England Law School. He is a partner at Curtis, Brinckerhoff and Barrett, P.C. He served in the House for 12 years.
- Matthew Larock, 47, of Simsbury. Larock graduated from Dickinson College and University of Miami School of Law. He is a chief of the Employment, Labor, and Workers’ Compensation Section of the attorney general’s office.
- Ann F. Lawlor, 55, of North Haven. Lawlor graduated from Providence College and New England Law School. She is a supervisory assistant state’s attorney.
- Walter A. Menjivar, 35, of West Hartford. Menjivar graduated from Vanderbilt University and University of Connecticut School of Law. He is an assistant attorney general and a former associate general counsel in the governor’s office.
- Yamini Menon, 46, of Westport. Menon graduated from Johns Hopkins University and American University Washington College of Law. She is an assistant state’s attorney in the civil litigation bureau in the chief state’s attorney’s office and a former legal aid attorney.
- Thomas J. O’Neill, 57, of Fairfield. O’Neill graduated from Stonehill College and Suffolk University Law School. He is a partner at Day Pitney LLP.
- Richard J. Rubino, 54, of West Hartford. Rubino graduated from Southern Connecticut State University and Ohio Northern University College of Law. He is a supervisory assistant state’s attorney.
- Thomas J. Saadi, 53, of Danbury. Saadi graduated from Western Connecticut State University and Quinnipiac University. He is commissioner of the Connecticut State Department of Veterans Affairs and a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve.
- Sharon A. Skyers, 54, of New Haven. Skyers graduated from Duke University and North Carolina Central University School of Law. She is a managing partner at Skyers, Skyers and Harrell, LLC, which she co-founded.
- Jennifer J. Tunnard, 57, of Ridgefield. Tunnard graduated from Fordham University and Touro College, Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center. She is a solo practitioner and a former prosecutor in the Bronx district attorney’s office.
- Emily Wagner, 47, of West Hartford. Wagner graduated from Skidmore College and University of Connecticut School of Law. She is an appeals lawyer at the Connecticut Division of Public Defender Services, where she has spent the past 12 years.
- Jason Welch, 50, of Bristol: Welch graduated from Hamilton College and Quinnipiac University School of Law. He is chief legal counsel to the Senate Republican minority office. He has served in the Connecticut Army National Guard and the Coast Guard Reserves. He served two terms in the state Senate for the 31st Senatorial District.
The family support magistrate nominees include:
- Jacquelyn B. Kercelius, 35, of Hamden. Kercelius graduated from Fordham College Lincoln Center and Quinnipiac University School of Law. She is an assistant clerk in Family Matters for the Judicial District of New Haven at Meriden.
- Charlene W. Spencer, 58, of Vernon. Spencer graduated from the University of Connecticut and Western New England University School of Law. She is an assistant attorney general.