MacDonald's High Court Nomination Picks Up Support And Scrutiny As Hearing Looms

Jun 18, 2019

N.H. Attorney General Gordon MacDonald was nominated to be the next chief justice of the state Supreme Court.
Credit Dan Tuohy / NHPR

More than 100 New Hampshire lawyers have signed a letter supporting Attorney General Gordon MacDonald's nomination to become the Chief Justice of the New Hampshire Supreme Court.

Their backing comes as scrutiny of MacDonald's record is intensifying.

The list of lawyers backing MacDonald is long. It includes Republicans like former New Hampshire Attorney General and U.S Sen. Kelly Ayotte, and Democrats, like former U.S. Attorneys John Kacavas and Emily Rice. It also includes a former state Supreme Court Chief Justice, Linda S. Dalianis.

Their letter predicts that MacDonald, who's never been a judge but has been the state's Attorney General for two years,  "will bring the same strengths to the judiciary as he has demonstrated as the states top law enforcement officer."

Some abortion rights activists are meanwhile expressing concern.

They question MacDonald's political background. In the 1980s, he was a top aide to former U.S. Sen. Gordon Humphrey, who pushed bills to limit abortion rights.

In 2016, MacDonald was also delegate for Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who opposes abortion, including in cases of rape and incest. 

MacDonald's confirmation hearing is scheduled for June 26.

If confirmed he'd be the third Supreme Court Justice appointed by Governor Sununu.