Former federal judge to help disburse...

Former federal judge to help disburse Sandy Hook donations

There are 4 comments on the Connecticut Post story from Apr 20, 2013, titled Former federal judge to help disburse Sandy Hook donations. In it, Connecticut Post reports that:

Officials with the foundation charged with distributing $11 million donated in response to the Sandy Hook massacre are looking to bring in a former federal judge to help with the effort.

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United States

#1 Apr 20, 2013
Arbitration? Isn't that when you are almost forced into signing an agreement that ensures you lose your right to sue? I'm surprised they didn't pick former Judge Lavery, another local crooked Newtown politician. Looking for someone to make a crooked deal look legittimate? Like the fires at Judge Halls and Wassermans houses where they pulled the former Fire Cheif out of retirement? Renovating the houses while leaving them full of wooden antiques. Isn't that called jewish lightning?

United States

#4 Apr 20, 2013
AG Power Grab

Out of control in Connecticut.

By John R. Lott Jr.

he last decade has seen state attorney generals use the power of the courts to shape public policy in unprecedented ways. Among the most aggressive in litigation ranging from tobacco to guns has been Connecticut's Richard Blumenthal, though for Blumenthal this was just the warm up. Even if the ideas that he is now advancing fail in Connecticut, they provide a dire warning of what other state attorneys general may soon start trying.

In just 12 years, his office has ballooned in size, more than doubling its budget from $13 million to almost $27 million and increasing the number of cases completed by 65 percent. Yet, despite this growth, Blumenthal has gone so far into actions previously reserved for other parts of the government that he often neglects the real duties of his job.

On August 9, the Connecticut supreme court checked Blumenthal for overstepping his authority. The court unanimously ruled that Blumenthal's jurisdiction is largely limited by state statute to representing state agencies and officials in lawsuits brought by or against them, although the attorney general had claimed broader powers.

Unsatisfied with his traditional role, Blumenthal had gone after the administrator of an academy accused of mishandling state funds. The court noted that it was up to the Connecticut commissioner of education, not Blumenthal alone, to bring the case.

Blumenthal has received harsh words before. For instance, last December, New York state's highest court found that Blumenthal's office was "mishandling" and making "missteps" in a paternity case. The Connecticut Law Tribune reported that "the direct criticism by the court raised eyebrows in Albany ."

The state supreme court pointed out in its decision two weeks ago that the attorney general's office had been established in 1897 because of the inefficiencies in having "each state agency and department [retain] its own legal counsel." But in July, the Connecticut Law Tribune reported that because his staff was so busy, the attorneys in Blumenthal's office "will no longer serve as counsel to state boards or as counsel to agency staffs ."

United States

#5 Apr 20, 2013
Worse, not only is he abrogating his role to advise, represent, and defend the state of Connecticut, his office is now suing the state. The high-profile case involves Cross Sound Cable Co. and represents an unprecedented power grab. Blumenthal sued to stop a cable being laid between Long Island and New Haven on environmental grounds. The suit was brought against the Connecticut Siting Council, the state agency that approved the cable. Just as in the case decided by the supreme court, Blumenthal filed the lawsuit in his own name, not on behalf of a state agency charged with these policy decisions.

Blumenthal claims that there is precedent for state agencies to sue each other, and indeed there is when lines of authority conflict. Try as they might, legislatures cannot foresee all possible conflicts. Courts step in to determine not who made the "correct" policy decision, but who has the actual authority. What Blumenthal wants, however, is something quite different. Instead of having legislators resolving policy differences, Blumenthal would make himself and the courts the final arbiter over policy.

The grab for power also crosses ethical lines. Two of the law firms that Blumenthal contracted with to sue the tobacco companies were run separately by his former law partner and his partner's wife. Blumenthal's defenders claim that other law firms simply didn't want the job. In a Connecticut Law Tribune article, however, a few lawyers disagreed, one complaining that "we didn't ever get a meeting" with the attorney general's office and another saying that his firm wasn't included despite agreeing to the state's contractual terms. Blumenthal's former partner, David Golub, acknowledged, "I know how it 'looks' he's my former partner ..."

Yet, whatever the concerns about Blumenthal giving a contract to a former partner, where did he get the authority at the time the contracts were negotiated to commit the state to pay private attorneys a sum then estimated to be more than $250 million?

During 12 years in office, Blumenthal has grown arrogant. People in and out of state government are afraid of him and are scared to publicly speak about their experiences. The state supreme court has better uses of its time than to monitor the behavior of an out-of-control attorney general.

John Lott is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.


United States

#6 Apr 20, 2013
Wow, they keep censoring my posts that tell the truth

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