In a surprise development, the state Judicial Selection Commission has scheduled an extraordinary meeting for Monday, Dec. 18, presumably to allow an additional candidate or candidates to qualify for appointment by Gov. M. Jodi Rell to the position of chief justice.
At its Dec. 13 meeting, the commission gave final interviews to three candidates, sources familiar with the proceedings said afterward. If approved, those candidates would join two Superior Court judges who previously gained JSC clearance.
The article also has a short review of each (known) candidate. If I was a bettor, I would bet on former Appellate Judge Dranginis - she seemed to have been encouraged to get certification and she has a record both as a solid jurist and as a supporter of judicial openness.
Also in CLT is an editorial that asks not to close the book on Justice Zarella (no registration required):
There are those who believe she will not submit the name of her original nominee, Justice Peter Zarella, to avoid any criticism by naming him since his nomination gave rise to Sullivan's inappropriate conduct.
Gov. Rell, however, should treat Justice Zarella fairly and resubmit his name since there is no evidence that he engaged in any wrongdoing or even knew what Justice Sullivan had done until after Justice Richard Palmer reported Sullivan's decision to place a hold on a Supreme Court ruling in which he and Zarella were in the majority. Both Justices Zarella and Sullivan have so testified, but Justice Zarella asked the governor to withdraw his nomination because of the uproar.
First of all, given that it was Justice Zarella himself who asked for his name to be withdrawn, its unlikely that this is even an option for Governor Rell. Justice Zarella would have to indicate that he is willing to go through the confirmation process under a real or perceivied suspicion of some wrongdoing.
Second, even if Justice Zarella was willing, Governor Rell would have to be willing to dredge up the Sullivan scandal - something that everyone seems to be willing to put behind them.
A better option is mentioned at the end of the editorial:
Gov. Rell also has an opportunity to recognize Justice David Borden, who could serve as chief justice until August 2007, when he reaches the mandatory retirement age of 70.
Justice Borden certainly has earned this act of recognition for his years of public service as a judge in the courts, his service as chairman of the Rules Committee and his shouldering of the burden, if not the mantle, of chief justice in recent months. In this context it should be noted that this Advisory Board published its opinion on the front page of this publication six years ago recommending Justice Borden's appointment as chief justice.
Again, by way of disclosure, I took Justice Borden's class and enjoyed it. Following this path would reward a Justice who stepped up in difficult times, would sail through the legislature, and would allow Governor Rell ample time to decide on a Chief Justice appointment without the pressure of the Sullivan scandal and failed Zarella nomination in her rear-view mirror.
Thomas B. Scheffey, Rell Keeps Door Open For CJ Post, Connecticut Law Tribune, December 14, 2006.
Law Tribune Advisory Board, Give Zarella Another Shot, Connecticut Law Tribune, December 14, 2006.