Sandra Slack Glover Office of the Governor

Sandra Slack Glover, the appellate chief for the U.S. attorney of Connecticut and a former law clerk to Sandra Day O’Connor, was nominated Tuesday by Gov. Ned Lamont as a justice of the state Supreme Court.

If confirmed by legislators, Glover would succeed Maria Araujo Kahn and become Lamont’s third appointee to Connecticut’s highest court after Christine E. Keller and Joan K. Alexander. Kahn resigned to become a judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Glover, 52, of Guilford is a 1997 graduate of the University of Chicago Law School who clerked for two powerhouse figures in American jurisprudence, first for Judge Richard Posner of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit in Chicago and then for O’Connor, the first woman on the U.S. Supreme Court.

“Sandra Slack Glover is highly respected within Connecticut’s legal community and around the country as an accomplished appellate lawyer,” Lamont said in a written statement. “Throughout her career, both in private practice and public service, she has demonstrated a respect for the rule of law and a commitment to ensuring that justice is served fairly.”

Her clerkship for O’Connor during the court’s October 1998 term made her a contemporary of Amy Coney Barrett, a clerk for Justice Antonin Scalia whom President Donald J. Trump nominated for the 7th Circuit in 2017 and then chose as successor to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

With every other surviving clerk from the 1998 term, including those who served justices of the court’s liberal bloc, Glover signed a letter in 2017 urging the Judiciary Committee to confirm Barrett, then a professor at Notre Dame, to the appeals court.

“Professor Barrett is a woman of remarkable intellect and character,” they wrote to the chair and ranking member of the committee. “She is eminently qualified for the job. This view is unanimous — every law clerk* from October Term 1998 has joined this letter.”

The asterisk noted one exception, a colleague who died in 2015.

The nomination of Glover came as the Lamont administration was lobbied by CT Pro-People Judiciary Coalition, which says that the state and federal judiciary lack professional diversity, to look beyond the ranks of former prosecutors and corporate lawyers for nominees to the bench.

The coalition is an outgrowth of the People’s Parity Project at UConn Law, which issued a report in 2022 saying that public-interest lawyers were underrepresented on the bench.

The report reviewed 136 judges and found 39% had experience as corporate attorneys and 21% had experience as prosecutors, but only 6.3% had public defense experience, and 4.9% had worked in legal aid. 

“At the appellate level, the disparities were even more stark, with 50% of judges having corporate experience, 25% with criminal prosecution experience, 6.3% with legal aid experience, and none with public defense experience,” the group wrote.

Keller, who had been a legal aid lawyer and Hartford municipal lawyer early in her career, was the last justice with what the group considered experience in public-interest law. 

She took senior status shortly before reaching the mandatory retirement age of 70 in 2020. She was succeeded by Alexander, a trial and appellate judge who had been a state prosecutor.

Steve Kennedy, an organizer with the People’s Parity, said members recently met with Natalie Braswell, the governor’s general counsel, to urge the nomination of someone with other than prosecutorial or corporate experience. He also made a similar plea in a letter to the legislature’s Judiciary Committee.

“The Connecticut Supreme Court is the final arbiter of what the state’s law actually means, wielding incredible power over the people of the state, but there are currently no justices with public defense or legal aid backgrounds, some of the legal experiences that bring attorneys closest to the people most intimately impacted by the state’s laws,” Kennedy wrote.

One of Glover’s jobs after her Supreme Court clerkship was representing the U.S. Department of Justice in environmental and natural resources cases. Her father was a wildlife scientist who taught at Texas A&M.

She came to Connecticut in 2002, first working at Wiggin & Dana. She joined the U.S. attorney’s office in 2004, becoming its appellate chief in 2010. From 2014 to 2017, she served as chair of the Appellate Chiefs Working Group, a committee of appellate chiefs from across the country who provide practical advice on federal legislation, court decisions and U.S. Department of Justice policies. 

“Selecting nominees for the Supreme Court is a decision that I take very seriously,” Lamont said. “Sandra has the qualities that meet the high standards that the residents of Connecticut deserve from their highest court.”

In addition to her law degree, Glover has a bachelor’s degree in government from the University of Virginia and a master’s degree in political science in government from Duke University.

She is married and the mother of two sons. Her husband is Eric Glover, the vice president global ethics and compliance at Otis Elevator and former chief of the financial fraud and public corruption unit of the U.S. attorney’s office.

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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.