Jessica M. Karmasek Jan. 15, 2013, 4:17pm

HARTFORD, Conn. (Legal Newsline) -- A former state senator's nomination to the Connecticut Supreme Court reportedly was backed by a judiciary committee Monday.

A public hearing on Andrew J. McDonald's nomination, and other judicial nominees, was held Monday morning.

The Hartford Courant reported late Monday that McDonald's nomination cleared the "key legislative hurdle."

According to the Courant, members of the committee "grilled" the one-time chairman of the committee for more than 90 minutes.

The only members to vote against his nomination were Rep. Al Adinolfi and Sen. Michael McLachlan, both Republicans, the newspaper reported.

Gov. Dannel Malloy, a Democrat, nominated McDonald on Dec. 27 to replace Justice Lubbie Harper Jr., who reached the mandatory retirement age.

McDonald's nomination now goes to the full legislature for a vote.

McDonald, who currently serves as Malloy's legal counsel, would be the state's first openly gay Supreme Court justice if he is confirmed.

Malloy's second nominee to the state's high court still has yet to be questioned by the committee.

Last Monday, Malloy announced his nomination of Judge Carmen Espinosa to the Court. She would fill the second of two vacancies on the Court.

In particular, Espinosa will replace Justice C. Ian McLachlan, who also reached the mandatory age of retirement for state judges.

Espinosa was sworn in as an Appellate Court judge in 2011, and prior to that served on the Superior Court since 1992. She was the first Hispanic to serve on both courts.

If confirmed, she will be the first Hispanic to sit on the state's Supreme Court.

"It is an honor to have the opportunity to name a woman with such a distinct and respected background to our state's highest court," Malloy said in a statement last week.

"Judge Carmen Espinosa has had an impressive career and is among our state's most respected jurists. She will serve the people well when confirmed to the bench."

Espinosa thanked Malloy for his "continued commitment to diversity" in the state's judiciary.

"I fully understand the responsibility that will fall upon my shoulders if confirmed as the first Hispanic to sit as a Supreme Court Justice in our great state. It is a responsibility which I will gladly accept and one that I would fulfill with diligence and dedication," she said in a statement.

Espinosa said she hopes her nomination serves as an example to young Hispanic children that "anything is possible if they stay in school and use education as the bridge to success."

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