Gov. Rell chooses next Chief Justice of Conn.

John O'Brien Feb. 22, 2007, 3:31pm


HARTFORD, Conn. - Appellate Court Judge Chase Rogers, a former co-worker of state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, will be Connecticut's next Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Gov. Jodi Rell announced Tuesday.

The spot was the subject of considerable controversy. Justice Peter Zarella withdrew his name from consideration after it was revealed that the release of a controversial decision was delayed by then-Chief Justice William Sullivan, who feared the release would interfere with Zarella being named Chief Justice.

At a hearing before the state Legislature on the matter Wednesday, Sullivan apologized and called the situation "a catastrophe."

Rogers, 50, would become the state's second female chief justice. She worked briefly in the 1980s with Blumenthal at Cummings and Lockwood, became a Superior Court judge in 1998 and moved to the Appellate Court in February 2006. She does not claim a party affiliation.

Rogers' appointment must be confirmed by the General Assembly, though the Hartford Courant reports that early feedback from legislators was positive.

"With experience not only as an attorney practicing in commercial and employment law but as a judge overseeing juvenile matters and hearing some of the most complicated cases in the state, Judge Rogers has a thorough knowledge of the law," Rell said.

Blumenthal said he was happy with the appointment and that he has "admired her excellent work as an advocate and public servant."

Much of Rogers' practicing days centered around commercial and employment litigation. When the Legislature voted on her appointment to the Appellate Court last year, she passed easily with a 34-1 vote in the Senate and 139-1 in the House.

According to the Connecticut Post, Rep. T.R. Rowe, R-Trumbull, voted no because, "I had a concern with some of her responses to the Judiciary Committee that I feared indicates she would be an activist judge."

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