- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 26, 2010

At least two controversial judicial nominations are scheduled for votes tomorrow in the Senate Judiciary Committee. The committee should kill the federal appeals court nomination of Federal District Judge Robert N. Chatigny of Connecticut, and it should delay the nomination of jackpot-justice lawyer John J. McConnell Jr. to be a federal district judge in Rhode Island.

Judge Chatigny has a weird record of empathy for those accused of sexual crimes involving children. It started when he served as co-counsel for director Woody Allen in 1993-94 when Mr. Allen filed a complaint against a prosecutor for discussing in public the potential charges against the moviemaker for reportedly abusing a minor stepchild. Mr. Allen and Mr. Chatigny lost both administrative proceedings in the case.

In another case, the U.S. Supreme Court eventually reversed Judge Chatigny, unanimously, when the judge tried to rule against one aspect of his state’s version of a Megan’s Law sex-offender registry. In 12 child-pornography cases, Judge Chatigny imposed a sentence either at or more lenient than the recommended minimum - with most downward departures involving sentences less than half as long. And in an outrageous case of judicial abuse, Judge Chatigny threatened to take away an attorney’s law license if the lawyer failed to appeal the death sentence of an eight-time murderer of girls and young women. The judge claimed the killer’s “sexual sadism” was a mental disorder that made the murderer himself a victim.

Compared to the execrable record of Judge Chatigny, Mr. McConnell’s legal sins are less flamboyant. Before the Rhode Island Supreme Court squashed his suit, Mr. McConnell pushed the theory that lead-paint manufacturers from decades ago should be held liable for lead poisoning in today’s children even if it could not be shown the companies had made the paint that caused the illnesses. As the Providence Journal explained, this theory of Mr. McConnell’s “violated basic precepts of law crucial to a just society.”

These nominations are abominations. They should not move forward.