N.H. Supreme Court Swears In New Chief Justice

Apr 9, 2018

Chief Justice Robert Lynn being sworn in by Governor Chris Sununu on Monday in Concord.
Credit Todd Bookman/NHPR

Surrounded by family and friends, Robert Lynn was sworn in as Chief Justice of the New Hampshire Supreme Court on Monday.

After being tapped for the job by Governor Chris Sununu, the Windham resident sailed through his confirmation hearing in the New Hampshire Executive Council. He becomes the 36th Chief Justice in the state’s history, taking over for Linda Dalianis, who reached the mandatory retirement age of 70.

Lynn, who is 68, will serve less than two years in the role.

During her remarks, Dalianis praised Lynn's warmth, noting that the two occasionally carpooled to events together. She also offered advice on how to handle the job’s many different hats.

“Read people’s minds, suffer fools gladly, win over all members of the House and Senate Finance Committees, and perhaps most importantly, know exactly when to close down the courts because of a Nor’easter,” she said to laughs.

Lynn’s former colleague Justice Carol Ann Conboy, who reached the mandatory retirement age last summer, described him as “one of the most talented legal analysts I know.”

Lynn was joined by his wife Dina Chaitowitz, as well as several of his grandchildren for the ceremony inside the Supreme Court in Concord. He laid out a succinct vision for his time as Chief Justice.

“My priorities as Chief Justice will be first and foremost to focus on the Supreme Court’s core responsibility of resolving the cases before us fairly, impartially, and expeditiously, with reasoned decisions that get it right in terms of applying the law to the facts,” he said.

Along with hearing cases, the Chief Justice also serves as head administrator for the judicial branch. Lynn said he looks forward to bringing the court “into the 21st century” by completing a switch to an electronic filing system. He also stated his intentions to tackle an underfunded judicial pension system.

On hand to congratulate Lynn were several former Supreme Court justices, as well as attorney Billy Shaheen, who hired Lynn in the 1970s to work under him as U.S. Attorney. The dean of the UCONN School of Law, Lynn’s alma mater, also attended the event.

“I pledge to do all in my power to live up to the high standards that are rightfully expected of a person holding this high position in state government,” said Lynn.