After delay, Martin Honigberg of Concord approved to be superior court judge

  • Gov. Chris Sununu AP

Published: 8/15/2019 4:53:16 PM
Modified: 8/15/2019 4:53:06 PM

A judicial nomination that Gov. Chris Sununu pulled from consideration last month was approved by the Executive Council on Wednesday.

Public Utilities Commission Chair Martin Honigberg of Concord was confirmed to be a Superior Court judge two months after he was nominated by Sununu.

The governor withdrew Honigberg last month after executive councilors voted 3-2 along party lines to reject New Hampshire Attorney General Gordon MacDonald from becoming the next chief justice of the state Supreme Court.

While MacDonald had broad support from the legal community, critics raised questions about his lack of experience as a judge and his involvement in conservative politics.

The move to withdraw Honigberg’s nomination prompted Councilor Debora Pignatelli to call Sununu “childish.”

This month, Sununu brought back the nomination and Honigberg was easily approved by the council.

Honigberg, like MacDonald, was recommended by the governor’s bi-partisan Judicial Selection Commission. Sununu and many in the legal community said MacDonald’s rejection was based on partisan politics, not on qualifications for the job.

Honigberg was appointed to the PUC in 2013 and became chair in December of 2014. Prior to his time at the PUC, he was a partner at Sulloway & Hollis, PLLC, where he practiced in commercial litigation and administrative law. From 2001 to 2003, Honigberg served as special counsel to Gov. Jeanne Shaheen and served as a senior assistant attorney general at the New Hampshire Department of Justice from 1994-2000.

“Marty has served this state admirably as chairman of the Public Utilities Commission, and I am honored to nominate him to serve as the next Justice of the Superior Court,” Sununu said after nominating Honigberg in June. “I am confident that, if confirmed, he will utilize the experience he has gained over a stellar career and continue to serve our state well as a judge.”

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