Within hours of our letter going out to Senator David Burns we received a response back from him. Below is Sen Burn’s response.
Thank you for your questions. First and foremost, the Judiciary Chairs follow the Maine Constitution and Joint Rules to conduct the process of reviewing Judicial nominees. As I said on the Senate floor, our Committee listened to a very long and, we feel, fair Committee hearing on Judge Moskowitz, as we do for each nomination. The Chairs did all in our ability and power to give everyone opportunity to be heard on the issue. It is very difficult to be exact on just how much time each speaker gets without rudely cutting someone’s time short. I believe that was done fairly, in spite of what some have protested about. Everyone’s testimony is equally important. When there is written testimony, we try to keep oral comments as close to the allotted time as possible.
As you know, the Committee had much written comment and materials provided to them before, during and after the Public Hearing. Also, the rules that are set before us, allow for the nominee to have opportunity to respond to testimony given. After the hearing, there was a break where our individual caucuses had an opportunity to talk among themselves, which is consistent with the Legislature’s Joint Rules in any issue brought before us. The Chairs were in agreement that a sufficient amount of time was needed for each Committee member to review and consider all that had been provided to them on this issue, before voting. It was also important for any response from the nominee to come forward. For these reasons the Chairs decided that we would hold the vote, as the rules allow, until after the weekend. As you also know, there was a considerable amount of unsolicited e-mails that were circulated to us during that time period. Each of those were provided to the clerk to be made a part of the public record. There were no inappropriate meetings or discussions that took place during that time that the Chairs are aware of. All testimony and written comment that the Committee was provided is public and available for public access.
When we reconvened, the Committee members had each come to their own conclusions of the “fitness” for this nominee to be reappointed and cast their vote accordingly. This is a process that is in place for us to follow and I believe that each Judiciary Committee member takes it very seriously. It is unfortunate that some individuals and legislators have tried to impugn the integrity of the Committee members. Having spent the last, nearly 5 months, with them, I can assure anyone that they are all very committed to fairness, transparency and of the utmost integrity. We all understand that some of the criticism over this “process” and some of the judicial nominees comes as a result of very difficult personal experiences with family courts and none of us minimize the importance of those experiences and the significance of those perspectives. However, some of the slanderous statements that have been made surrounding these proceedings are unconscionable and do not have any place in legitimate and constructive debate and discussion!
MeGAL is working on Family Court and Guardian ad litem reform. If you are or have been a consumer of judicial services and have had an issue with the court. We would encourage you to contact us at MeGALalert@gmail.com or find us on Facebook.
Letter to Sen David Burns may be found here:
2015-05-23 An Open Letter to Judiciary Committee on Confirmation of the Hon Jeffrey Moskowitz