REPUTABLE JUDICIAL NOMINEES HELD UP BY POLITICS

The Shad knows this will shock all Connecticut residents, but the state legislature is in gridlock; locked down by a dispute over the budget. The difference between this year and other “deadlocked” years is that accomplished, reputable and in some cases, brilliant judicial nominees are caught in the cross fire—in limbo until other issues not in their control, get settled.

The Judiciary committee’s review of the nine people Gov. Rell has nominated for judgeships is a story in and of itself. No votes were taken on the would-be judges, a group that includes Public Safety Commissioner John Danaher, III who’s resume is impressive by any measure as well as Rell budget director and former state senator Bob Genuario. These are people who don’t deserve to have their futures in limbo. Yet it appears to be no way out until the dispute over funding for the judicial branch and the budget in general, is settled.

Also coming out of yesterday’s hearing was a troubling display of what can be considered reverse age discrimination. 39-year old Laura Flynn Baldini, a Yale-educated Republican, was grilled over what committee members said was her experience. It was a thin-veiled criticism of her age. Some committee members were concerned that Baldini has been a lawyer for only 12 years and has quickly risen to be a couple of votes away from being a judge. One would think a nominee for any post is either qualified or not—his or her age should not matter.

Members of the Black and Hispanic caucus expressed concerned there were no people of color among the nine nominees—they are all white. The concern is valid. Diversity is important and it defies belief that there isn’t a black or Hispanic person in the entire state qualified to be a judge.

In any event, some of Connecticut’s best and brightest will have to grab some pine and wait it out while the legislature works out its problems.

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Yet another vote for passenger rail development in the state. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood yesterday said the state has a strong chance of landing some of the of $2.5 billion in high-speed rail grants this year.

LaHood said the state has a realistic plan and could be one of the first in the nation to begin running new, 110-mph passenger trains under the federal government’s ambitious rail initiative.

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“This becomes an economic engine,” LaHood said after riding an Amtrak train from New Haven to Hartford. “You create opportunities for affordable housing, opportunities for business to take over abandoned warehouses and create jobs.”

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A note of thanks to other members of the media who have recognized The Hanging Shad either for its content:

http://blogs.courant.com/capitol_watch/2010/04/hanging-shad-says-ditch-the-ne.html

Or its design:

http://blogs.courant.com/rick_green/2010/04/scullys-hanging-shad-gets-a-ne.html

The design is not of the author’s doing (no chance). That credit belongs to Milford’s Scott Barnett, website designer extraordinaire, who update our templates to something a bit more appealing.