CONCORD – House Speaker William O’Brien and House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt today released the following statement in response to the announcement that Justice James E. Duggan will retire January 13, 2012.
House Speaker William O’Brien
“As a public defender, law professor and, for over ten years, an associate Justice on the New Hampshire Supreme Court, Justice Duggan has provided dedicated service to the people and legal community of New Hampshire. He has been appropriately praised as a man of integrity, honesty, intelligence and objectivity. We wish him the best during his retirement.
“With Justice Duggan’s retirement, consideration turns to who will be his successor on the Court. In that request, we call upon the Governor and Executive Council to consider and appoint an individual who will be attentive to the original intent of our state Constitution and most especially the separation of powers of the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches. New Hampshire needs Supreme Court Justices who will desist from making law as they interpret laws.
“Understanding where the judicial role begins and ends should be a prerequisite qualification for the next appointment to the Supreme Court. We call upon the Governor and Executive Council to ensure that the next appointee to the Supreme Court joins with the people of New Hampshire in their desire for judges who understand this distinction.”
House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt
“As a proud student of the University of New Hampshire Law School I am grateful for Justice Duggan's service and the influence that he had on this great institution where he served as a mentor for many young people looking to public service as a career. His ascent from the public defenders' office in Manchester, some 30 years ago, to a place on the state's highest court is a remarkable achievement. I wish him all the best in his retirement years. With his retirement, I hope that the governor will take the opportunity to bring a balance to the court by appointing a judge who is a strict constructionist and someone who appreciates originalism.”