New Hampshire Attorney General Gordon MacDonald has been nominated by the Governor to serve as the next New Hampshire Chief Justice to the State Supreme Court, replacing the outgoing Chief Justice Robert Lynn. It appears the confirmation vote will take place at the next Governor and Council meeting in Littleton. I would encourage our District 1 Executive Councilor, Michael Cryans of Hanover to support his nomination.
Gordon is a Republican who has had a distinguished legal career in the private sector and has written the book on civil litigation in the state. He was nominated and confirmed as NH Attorney General on a unanimous vote of the Governor’s Council, one of those votes was by me.
Gordon MacDonald’s nomination to the Supreme Court has broad bipartisan support in the NH legal community from dozens and dozens of experienced lawyers and the public support of the current Chief Justice, Robert Lynn, a Republican and two former Chief Justices, to include Linda Dalianis, a Republican and Justice Broderick, a Democrat who has worked tirelessly for the statewide mental health community.
In the five years I served on the Governor’s Council, I voted on dozens and dozens of judicial nominations to include both women and men at all state judicial levels. Only on one occasion did I vote “No” because I thought the person lacked a diversified legal experience to serve on the Superior Court. It has nothing to do with Washington, DC politics.
Gordon MacDonald has been a tremendous legal asset to the state, highly experienced and has the judicial temperament to be a excellent Supreme Court Justice. In his time as Attorney General he made himself available to the North Country law enforcement community and oversaw drug task force summits along with his office, one of which I attended in Lancaster. Gordon was always there to answer any questions I might have of him to support our North Country constituents.
One of the sticking points at the recent Governor and Council public hearing on the MacDonald nomination was the Pro-life/Pro-choice issue. As with any nominee he answered this is “settled law” under the Roe versus Wade decision but yet was continuously drilled on the topic. I can state unequivocally while on the Council I never questioned a State Supreme Court, Superior Court or Circuit Court nominee on their position with regards to the Pro-life/Pro-choice issue. It was never my (or the previous Executive Councilor Ray Burton) litmus test and it should never be for a qualified candidate to serve on the NH bench.
What the citizens of NH want on the judicial bench is someone who is fair, experienced, well-researched, follows the rule of law, interprets the state constitution and its laws, makes decisions that are reasonable, protect our safety and personal freedoms. Gordon MacDonald will do all of that.
Gordon is a decent person who has the character, experience, skill and respect across state government. In the NH legal community, he is in the top 1 percent and has been recognized as a top attorney in NH for years. As a Magna Cum Laude from Cornell Law School, Ithaca, NY and Cum Laude from Dartmouth in Hanover, NH he is surely smart enough.
Let’s not go down the road of Washington, DC politics, let’s confirm one of our brightest legal minds and sincerest public servants in the state, Gordon MacDonald.
Joseph Kenney, of Wakefield, N.H., is a former executive councilor and state senator.