Former Federal Prosecutor Nora Dannehy Nominated for Connecticut State Supreme Court, Gains Senate Approval in Landslide Vote
Nora Dannehy, a distinguished former federal prosecutor who once played a significant role in the investigation of the Trump-Russia probe in 2020, is on the brink of becoming a member of the Connecticut State Supreme Court. The Senate of Connecticut has given a nod to her nomination with a 31-2 vote. The next stage for her nomination is the House of Representatives, where it will be subjected to another vote.
Dannehy is not new to holding important positions. She served as the first woman U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut from 2008 to 2010. During her confirmation hearing, she disclosed why she decided to leave the federal investigation into the Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Her concerns revolved around then-Attorney General William Barr’s public comments about the case and his contemplation of releasing a draft of an interim report before the 2020 election. She believed that these actions went against the Department of Justice’s principles for carrying out an impartial and apolitical investigation.
Impartiality and Experience: The Hallmarks of Dannehy’s Career
Dannehy’s career spans various roles, including a Connecticut deputy attorney general, associate general counsel for global ethics and compliance with United Technologies Corporation, and chief legal counsel for Democratic Gov. Lamont, who nominated her to the state’s highest court. Politicians, irrespective of their party affiliations, have lauded Dannehy for her extensive experience. State Sen. John Kissel, the lead Republican on the General Assembly’s Judiciary Committee, praised her for her impartiality and capability to make balanced decisions without being swayed by partisan politics.
A Career Steeped in Integrity and Public Service
Born in Connecticut, Dannehy is well-known throughout the country for her advocacy for the public’s interests and clean government. From 1991 to 2010, she served in several roles with the U.S. Department of Justice, including the first woman to serve as U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut. During this tenure, she specialized in the prosecution of complex white-collar and public corruption cases that led to the convictions of several prominent public officials.
Her career path also included a stint as Deputy Attorney General for the Office of the Attorney General for the State of Connecticut. This role required her to oversee the office’s day-to-day litigation efforts. From 2013 until 2019, she served as the Associate General Counsel for Global Ethics and Compliance for United Technologies Corporation. In this position, as the chief compliance officer for a major corporation, Dannehy supervised numerous investigations and advised the company on compliance, ethics, and related policies.
Her dedication to public service saw her return as Counsel to the U.S. Attorney and then as General Counsel to Governor Lamont from 2021 until January of 2023. She now works in private practice at the Hartford based firm of Cowdery, Murphy, Dannehy & Healy, where she conducts internal and independent investigations for public and private entities.
Endorsements and Public Acknowledgement
Connecticut’s four Democratic caucus leaders, Senate President Martin M. Looney, House Speaker Matt Ritter, Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff, and House Majority Leader Jason Rojas, have endorsed Governor Lamont’s nomination of Dannehy to the State Supreme Court. They praised her intellect, temperament, and understanding of both the law and public policy.
Senate Minority Leader Kevin Kelly also commended the governor for nominating such a well-qualified nominee. He said, “Attorney Dannehy will be a distinguished addition to our state’s highest court. She has a strong history of acting in the best interests of Connecticut’s citizens and possesses the intellect, compassion, and temperament that we should seek in a jurist.”
Meanwhile, House Minority Leader Vincent Candelora expressed his admiration for Dannehy’s professional experience, temperament, deliberative nature, and confidence to make difficult decisions. Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz and Attorney General William Tong also echoed similar sentiments, underscoring Dannehy’s dedication to public service and high ethical standards.
With the strong endorsement from both sides of the aisle and a highly decorated career in law, Dannehy’s confirmation as a member of Connecticut’s State Supreme Court seems highly likely. Her nomination represents a significant step towards strengthening the independence and integrity of the court. However, the final decision lies in the hands of the House of Representatives, who will conduct the subsequent vote.
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