CONCORD – Governor Chris Sununu announced Tuesday that he will nominate Attorney General Gordon MacDonald to serve as the next Chief Justice of the New Hampshire Supreme Court.
The nomination will be made at the June 5th Governor and Council meeting. If confirmed, AG MacDonald will succeed Chief Justice Bob Lynn, who will retire as of the close of business on August 23rd. Governor Sununu selected AG MacDonald for nomination from a list of finalists recommended by the Governor’s bipartisan Judicial Selection Commission.
“Gordon has served this State with distinction as Attorney General for the last two years, and I am honored to nominate him to lead our State’s highest court,” said Sununu. “During his time as Attorney General, Gordon’s leadership skills, along with his independence, have been on full display. Gordon has never been afraid to follow the path or take the action that he believes is right, even when that course may not be the easiest and even when some, including myself, may disagree with him. Our Department of Justice is stronger than ever due to Gordon’s leadership and independence, and I am confident that, if confirmed, Gordon will use his unparalleled legal talents and fair-minded approach to lead our judicial branch with distinction.”
AG MacDonald has served as the state’s Attorney General since April of 2017. In that role he has managed a team of over 140 employees, including more than 60 attorneys. His accomplishments during his time as Attorney General include joining with Governor Sununu to establish the Department’s first ever Civil Rights Unit, and spearheading an effort to create the position of Solicitor General, thereby consolidating all State appeals under the leadership of a Chief Legal Officer within the Department.
On AG MacDonald’s recommendation, that legislation also established a new position dedicated to the training and professional development of all prosecutors in the state, including at the county and municipal levels. AG MacDonald has been committed to bringing greater transparency to the Department’s work. For the first time in the Department’s history, there is now a Director of Communications to assist in those efforts.
Prior to serving as Attorney General, AG MacDonald was a Partner at Nixon Peabody LLP in Manchester, where he was a member of the Commercial Litigation Practice Group. A graduate of Dartmouth College and Cornell Law School, he earned recognition as one of the state’s top attorneys for commercial and health care litigation by Chambers USA and Benchmark Litigation and successfully handled a number of high-profile cases in both state and federal court.
Before entering private practice, AG MacDonald served as a judicial law clerk to Judge Norman H. Stahl of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. He has been a member of the New Hampshire Bar since 1995.
“The New Hampshire judiciary plays a vital role in the lives of the people of our state,” MacDonald said. “The prospect of serving as the leader of this branch of government is truly humbling.”
A widely recognized and well-respected leader in the legal community, AG MacDonald served as the Chair of the New Hampshire Board of Bar Examiners and the Chair of the New Hampshire Supreme Court’s Commission on the New Hampshire Bar in the 21st Century.
He was appointed to both positions by the New Hampshire Supreme Court. His commitment to public service is further demonstrated through his work as a volunteer attorney for the New Hampshire Bar Association’s Domestic Violence Emergency Program and his service as the former chair of the Campaign for Legal Services Leadership Council, which raises funds for civil legal assistance in New Hampshire. AG MacDonald received the New Hampshire Bar Association’s Distinguished Service to the Public Award in 2014 and the John E. Tobin, Jr., Justice Award from the Campaign for Legal Services in 2017.
Following the nomination at the June 5th Governor and Council meeting, the Executive Council will hold a public hearing on the nomination and a confirmation vote will likely take place at a subsequent Governor and Council meeting.