New Hampshire Legal Rights Foundation Opposes Supreme Court Nomination of Jim Bassett

CONCORD – The New Hampshire Legal Rights Foundation (NHLRF) Monday released the following statement opposing the nomination of Attorney James P. Bassett to the New Hampshire Supreme Court. The Executive Council is set to vote on the nomination on Wednesday.

The decision by the NHLRF to oppose the nomination is based upon comments made by Bassett at the public hearing held before the Executive Council on May 17, 2012 in which Bassett indicated strong support for the Claremont decisions because the Court “interpreted the Constitution as they saw it at the time, and that is the precedent which now exists”; Bassett further indicated that as a state Supreme Court justice he “would need to abide by it because it's been in place for a long time” and called the decisions “carefully crafted.”

Said Timothy Condon, an attorney and chairman of the NHLRF board of directors, “While it is clear the Jim Bassett is a fine individual, he has indicated that he would just be another vote on the Court to enshrine the Claremont decisions, which may be the worst example of judicial overreach in New Hampshire history." 

The Claremont decisions, Condon added, run counter to the core mission of the NHLRF, an organization dedicated to promoting judicial restraint and fidelity to the New Hampshire and federal Constitutions. "An activist, unrestrained state Supreme Court is not a benefit to New Hampshire or its people," said Condon. "The NHLRF is opposing the confirmation of Mr. Bassett because he does not appear to understand that the state Supreme Court was never intended to be a super-legislature, and should not attempt to be one, as in the Claremont decisions. The state High Court must respect the separation of powersas our founding fathers intended."

It is therefore with regret that the NHLRF announces its opposition to confirmation of Mr. Bassett by the Executive Council. New Hampshire deserves better, and the state Supreme Court deserves some balance in its justices. Our judges swear an oath to the Constitution and not stare decisis. We urge the Executive Council to refuse to confirm Mr. Bassett, and to insist that Governor Lynch nominate an Originalist justice who believes in judicial restraint, not unrestrained judicial power.
The New Hampshire Legal Rights Foundationis a nonprofit, nonpartisan, membership organization dedicated to preserve and enhance liberties grounded in the United States and New Hampshire constitutions and civil rights laws. Among those liberties and laws are freedoms of speech, religion and association, the right to petition the government and be free from unwarranted governmental controls and strictures, and constitutional guarantees of federalism, due process of law, and the right to equal treatment under the law.