In nominating Appellate Court Judge Carmen Espinosa for a seat on the Connecticut Supreme Court, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has made a sound choice that would bring someone with vast judicial experience to the high court while expanding its diversity.
Foremost, Judge Espinosa, 63, is highly qualified. Before joining the Appellate Court - second only to the Supreme Court in the state judicial hierarchy - she served 18 years as a Superior Court judge. Her other prior work includes service as an FBI agent and as a federal prosecutor. That varied experience would serve her well in sitting in judgment on the many issues that come before the Supreme Court.
She is a woman of the people. Judge Espinosa was just 3 when her parents relocated from Puerto Rico to New Britain in 1952. Her dad was a laborer, her mom a factory worker. She is a graduate of what is now Central Connecticut State University, has a master's degree in Hispanic Studies from Brown University and earned her law degree at George Washington University.
Her confirmation by the General Assembly would have the added benefit of bringing the first Hispanic to the state Supreme Court. Given Connecticut's growing Hispanic population and the diversity it represents, it is important to have a diverse court as well, a subject the judge commented on in accepting the nomination.
"I fully understand the responsibility that falls on my shoulders if confirmed as the first Hispanic to sit as a Supreme Court justice … I hope that my nomination to the Supreme Court serves as an example to young Hispanic children that anything is possible if they stay in school and use education as the bridge to success," said Judge Espinosa.
The one hiccup in her career came in 1995 when she was rebuked by the state Supreme Court for becoming argumentative with a defendant and for overreaching when she found him in contempt of court three times. That can be filed under living and learning.
Barring any surprises, Judge Espinosa is deserving of confirmation.