Attorney Accepted Gordon MacDonald said that he would account U.S. Supreme Cloister antecedent if appointed to the New Hampshire Supreme Cloister – including over changeable rights – responding to questions at an continued audition Thursday to appraise his renomination by Gov. Chris Sununu.
However, he would not detail how he adeptness aphorism in the state’s accomplished cloister should Roe v. Wade be chaotic federally, citation a longstanding attitude of not commenting on approaching decisions as a administrative nominee. He beneath to admit his own opinion.
“My appearance about aborticide and any added affair that comes afore the cloister is not accordant to the adeptness for me to exercise the role of a judge,” MacDonald told the New Hampshire Executive Council.
The acknowledgment came out of a diffuse and at times acrimonious barter with Agent Cinde Warmington, the abandoned Democrat on the Council. For best of the day Thursday, MacDonald fielded queries from Warmington and added associates of the five-member adopted anatomy answerable with acknowledging administrative accessories in the state.
Over several hours, MacDonald said he would handle cases based on the facts and the statute, not his accurate opinions. He demurred on answers about approaching administrative positions, citation the “Ginsburg rule,” alleged afterwards Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s abnegation to acknowledge that advice during her Supreme Cloister acceptance hearings. He additionally apprenticed to recuse himself from any cases that the Administration of Amends had been complex in while he served as Advocate General.
Sununu had nominated MacDonald beforehand this ages to the role of Arch Amends of the accompaniment Supreme Cloister – the additional time in two years. That position has been larboard abandoned back mid-2019, afterwards the Democratic-controlled Executive Council alone MacDonald in a 3-2 vote and afterwards Sununu vowed he would not accompany addition appointee until they apologized.
This time, the political realities accept changed. Afterwards a statewide beating in the November accepted election, Democrats absent two seats to Republicans for this term, alteration their 3-2 majority to a 4-1 Republican control. Now, MacDonald’s acceptance is apparent as likely.
In aperture testimony, MacDonald laid out a career he said able him able-bodied for the role, with all-encompassing time spent in clandestine convenance and four years at the captain of the New Hampshire Administration of Justice.
He alleged the arch amends position “a position of abundant albatross in account of our founding attempt and the New Hampshire Constitution.”
MacDonald, who aboriginal confused to New Hampshire at 10 afterwards his ancestor took a job teaching at Dartmouth, eventually accelerating Dartmouth and went to appear Cornell Law School.
He formed for years in bloom affliction action in the accompaniment for Nixon Peabody, LLP, and additionally clerked with Adjudicator Norman H. Stahl of the U.S. Aboriginal Circuit Cloister of Appeals in Boston.
He spent some of his career in politics, alive as a action abettor for New Hampshire Sen. Gordon Humphrey for seven years, and as a accompaniment attack administrator for the presidential bid of Republican Dan Quayle in 2000.
At the arch of the Administration of Justice, MacDonald oversaw the apperception of an elections candor assemblage for analytical claims of voting irregularities as able-bodied as a civilian rights unit. He led the accompaniment into action adjoin opioid accomplish Purdue, as able-bodied as 3M, which the accompaniment has accused of abominably communicable bubbler baptize with PFAS. He additionally has dedicated accompaniment laws that accept been challenged in court, including one that tightens voting accommodation in the state, which Democrats accept labeled aborigine suppression.
His diffuse career has becoming MacDonald ample abutment in the state’s accustomed association for his bid to the aerial court, including from above-mentioned Arch Amends Robert Lynn, now a Windham Republican accompaniment representative, and above Arch Amends John Broderick a Democrat. Both men testified in favor of MacDonald’s acceptance Thursday.
But Democrats and changeable rights advocates accept objected to his time spent confined the Republican Party, and accept argued that the pro-life angle of some of the politicians he acclimated to assignment for alarm into catechism his charge to the appropriate to abortion.
On Thursday, Warmington, a Concord attorney, leaned into that criticism, advertisement MacDonalds above-mentioned assignment apery the New Hampshire Republican accompaniment committee; his above position on the lath of the Josiah Bartlett Center for Accessible Policy, a appropriate aptitude anticipate tank; and his assignment for Humphrey and Quayle, both of whom had consort anti-abortion views.
Warmington asked about legislation that had been filed by Humphrey while MacDonald formed for him that attempted to ascertain activity as starting at conception, and bar abortions. MacDonald said that he did not bethink acceptable that legislation, and that his job had been to abetment the agent with his aldermanic priorities.
“You would accede you are politically a conservative?” Warmington said.
“People can accomplish their own judgments,” MacDonald responded. “But it’s not relevant, with respect, councilor, to my adeptness to be a judge.”
Over added than an hour of analytic by Warmington, MacDonald accustomed Supreme Cloister precedents on gay marriage, “separate but equal” segregation, admitting beneath to animadversion on whether he alone anticipation they were adequately decided, calling it inappropriate for the hearing.
When it came to his own decisions, MacDonald said that he would accredit to the article of “stare decisis,” which demands that board booty antecedent from earlier cloister rulings.
The New Hampshire’s Supreme Cloister has rarely heard a case on changeable rights in the state. But Warmington aloft the achievability of the U.S. Supreme Court, which currently tilts conservative, of abolishment Roe v. Wade or chipping abroad at it. She asked what MacDonald’s approaching position adeptness be if there wasn’t a U.S. Supreme Cloister precedent.
“This is a complete hypothetical,” MacDonald said. “I’m not activity to acknowledgment that.”
Warmington’s band of analytic brought a slight admonishment from District 3 Agent Janet Stevens, a Rye Republican, who invoked the acquaintance of Broderick’s acceptance to altercate the analytic was irrelevant.
“Sitting actuality today is above Supreme Cloister Amends Broderick, who I had the amusement of speaking with,” she said. “He was alive in Democratic backroom above-mentioned to actuality named. As an advocate after administrative experience, he went appropriate to the Supreme Court. Two years later, Amends Broderick became the arch justice. During his administrative hearing, there was no advertence to his political affiliation.”
But Republican councilors had some of their own concerns.
Councilor Joseph Kenny, of District 1, asked about the Administration of Justice’s accommodation to accomplished businesses in the accompaniment who were not adhering to guidelines on affectation acceptance in restaurants during the COVID-19 accompaniment of emergency. Eight businesses accept so far accustomed fines.
“They aloof appetite to accomplish a living, and they appetite to do the appropriate thing, and they appetite to chase all the guidelines,” Kenney said. “But we accept got to accept a conversation. We can’t be putting fines on bodies who are aggravating to accomplish a living.”
MacDonald dedicated the decisions, arguing that he had issued a bright announcement to businesses on how to administer the affectation mandate, and abacus that out of 1,500 absolute mask-related complaints from association about businesses, best issues had been bound by his administration after the charge for fines.
“That is our objective,” he said. “Does that assignment in every instance? No.”
Responding to a altered catechism from Kenney, MacDonald stood abaft Sununu’s accommodation to acknowledge a accompaniment of emergency, arguing the governor was able-bodied aural his approved authority.
At the hearing, MacDonald had the abutment of one arresting affiliate of the public, Kelly Ayotte, the above Republican U.S. Agent and state advocate general.
“I couldn’t anticipate of a added able being to serve in this important job for our state,” Ayotte said, calling him diligent, balanced and a acceptable listener. “But what compels me absolutely to be actuality has annihilation to do with his qualifications. It’s absolutely about his character. And the things that you can’t apprentice in school.”
The Council is set to accommodated Friday at 10 a.m. to booty up the acceptance vote.
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