Conn. AG wants appeal answered

John O'Brien Jan. 8, 2007, 10:14pm



HARTFORD, Conn. - Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal is asking the state's Supreme Court to rule on his appeal of a lower court ruling that prevented former Chief Justice William Sullivan from having to obey a subpoena from the Legislature.

Sullivan initially refused to testify, leading to the ruling.

However, in a Dec. 20 letter, he changed his mind.

So Blumenthal's appeal might be seen as moot since Sullivan will testify anyway. Blumenthal, though, still wants a decision on it and filed a brief Friday.

"Clearly, this appeal is not moot until, at a minimum, Justice Sullivan actually testifies before the Judiciary Committee and fully answers all questions posed to him," Blumenthal wrote.

Blumenthal is representing state Sen. Andrew McDonald and state Rep. Michael Lawlor, the Judiciary Committee co-chairmen.

Now a retired senior status judge, Sullivan is appealing the decision and punishment handed down by the Judicial Review Council in November. It is charged that he intentionally delayed the release of a controversial ruling so it would not disrupt nomination of Justice Peter Zarella, who was considered Sullivan's protege.

After being served with the subpoena from the Legislature's Judiciary Committee, Sullivan filed suit against Lawlor and McDonald claiming that it violated constitutional separation of powers provisions between co-equal branches of government.

Superior Court Judge Dennis Eveleigh agreed and ruled that lawmakers could subpoena the testimony of a sitting judge only in the context of confirmation or impeachment proceedings.

That's when Blumenthal decided to appeal.

"A trial court should not be the final arbiter of such far-reaching and fundamentally important constitutional issues," he said. "These issues should be decided by the highest court in the state, which is the ultimate authority on interpretation of the state constitution."

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