HARTFORD (AP) — Gov. Dannel P. Malloy nominated state Appellate Court Judge Richard Robinson on Tuesday to serve on Connecticut’s highest court.
Robinson was nominated on his 56th birthday to succeed Justice Flemming L. Norcott Jr., who left the court after reaching the mandatory judge retirement age of 70 in October.
Robinson is the only black judge on the Appellate Court, the state’s second-highest court, and would be the only black justice on the Supreme Court if he’s confirmed by the legislature. Norcott also is black.
“Judge Robinson has an intellect and a wealth of experience that extends beyond the bench, having served with a number of social organizations, educational institutions and other groups in our community throughout his career,” Malloy said.
Robinson was appointed to the Superior Court bench in 2000 and the Appellate Court in 2007. He was a member of the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities from 1997 to 2000 and the commission’s chairman in 1999 and 2000.
“I am truly humbled by the thought of being considered for this high honor,” Robinson said.
Before serving on the human rights commission, he was president of the Stamford NAACP from 1988 to 1990 and general counsel for the state NAACP from 1988 to 2000.
Robinson was born in Stamford and graduated with a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Connecticut in 1979. He graduated from the West Virginia University School of Law in 1984, and went on to work as staff counsel for the city of Stamford law department. He was assistant corporation counsel in Stamford until he was appointed a judge.
Norcott served 21 years on the state’s highest court, after five years on the Appellate Court and eight years as a Superior Court judge.
Norcott wrote of one of the Supreme Court’s most controversial decisions in 2004 allowing the city of New London to seize properties in the Fort Trumbull neighborhood by eminent domain for economic development. The 4-3 decision was upheld by a similarly divided U.S. Supreme Court in 2005.