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Lack of judicial experience sinks N.H. chief justice nominee

Executive Council votes 3-2 to reject Gov. Chris Sununu's pick of Gordon MacDonald to sit on the state's high court.
Credit: AP Photo/Elise Amendola
Prior to his confirmation as N.H. Attorney General, Manchester attorney Gordon MacDonald is seen here listening to a question during a public hearing in the Executive Council chambers on March 28, 2017, at the New Hampshire Statehouse in Concord, N.H.

LITTLETON, N.H. — New Hampshire Attorney General Gordon MacDonald has been rejected as the next chief justice of the state Supreme Court.

The Democrat-led Executive Council on Wednesday voted 3-2 along party lines against MacDonald, who had been nominated by Republican Gov. Chris Sununu to replace retiring Chief Justice Robert Lynn.

MacDonald would have been the first in at least a century to become chief justice without ever having served as a judge. He had faced criticism for that, as well as his past ties to conservative Republican politics.

Councilor Andru Volinsky said MacDonald's assurances that he would follow the law weren't enough because he believes political extremism is undermining the law. Expressing disappointment with the vote, Sununu said the council had interjected politics into the process for the first time.