Has any group of judicial nominations in Connecticut ever been more politically adept than the 16 put forth this week by Governor Malloy?
Superior Court Judge Christine E. Keller was nominated for the Appellate Court. While she is the wife of former House Speaker Thomas D. Ritter, D-Hartford, who is now a lobbyist, she has put in 10 years as a trial judge and has handled difficult cases well.
Former state Sen. Andrew Roraback, the Goshen Republican narrowly defeated two months ago for Congress in the 5th District by Elizabeth Esty, wife of the governor's environmental protection and energy commissioner, was nominated for the Superior Court, ending a long political career with enough of a triumph that he won't be getting in the way of Esty's re-election.
Also nominated for the Superior Court were two other former state legislators, the father of a state legislator, the son of two former state legislators, the daughter of a former Democratic state chairman, and, along with the usual assistant attorney general and deputy prosecutors, two prominent and sometimes controversial but certainly able criminal defense lawyers - Karen A. Goodrow of the Connecticut Innocence Project and Hope C. Seeley. As judges the latter two may be especially protective of civil liberty.
By the governor's explicit design the nominees will make Connecticut's judiciary, mostly white and male, more diverse, six of the 16 nominees being women and four being black or Hispanic. Of course competence remains far more important than appearances, but with this batch Malloy may have gotten both.
Unfortunately, just hours before making the judicial nominations the governor offered a heap of liberal ideological posturing. He announced that the state Labor Department will study the supposed wage disparity between the sexes in Connecticut's workforce.
It is an article of liberal faith that sexual discrimination causes women to earn only 75 percent or so of what men earn in the United States. But this faith is little more than resentment that - whether on account of biology, gender temperament, or oppression by husbands or (welfare policy having nearly destroyed marriage) boyfriends - women tend to sacrifice careers more than men do in favor of child rearing. Adjusted for this sacrifice, the wage gap mostly dissipates.
Salary discrimination is already illegal where it can be proved in specific cases. So Connecticut might address the wage gap better by removing the incentives of welfare policy for childbearing outside marriage, which is the main impediment to women's careers, having induced so many to presume to raise children alone on various government stipends before obtaining the education and skills necessary to support themselves and children.
But even after last year's record state tax increase and with another billion-dollar state budget deficit on the way, Connecticut still can't do enough to discourage the private economy. With its salary discrimination study the Malloy administration is looking to contrive cause for still more government intervention in the workplace.
Connecticut probably will get rid of wage discrimination, but only by driving away the remainder of the private economy.