CONCORD — Attorney Dan St. Hilaire was confirmed as a Superior Court judge in a 3-2 vote of the Executive Council on Wednesday, with Democrats Andru Volinsky and Chris Pappas in opposition.
Republicans Joe Kenney, David Wheeler and Russell Prescott supported the nomination.
A Concord city councilor, St. Hilaire was nominated by Gov. Chris Sununu last month. The two served together on the council as Republicans during St. Hilaire’s tenure from 2011-2013.
At his confirmation hearing on Monday before the five-member Executive Council, St. Hilaire was pressed by Pappas (now Congressman-elect Pappas) and Volinsky on his vote to defund Planned Parenthood. The organization came out in opposition to St. Hilaire’s confirmation.
Volinsky also questioned St. Hilaire aggressively on his role as chief operating officer of the New Hampshire Liquor Commission, which Volinsky has accused of being complicit in bulk cash sales of liquor to out-of-state bootleggers.
Gov. Chris Sununu said he is confident St. Hilaire will make a good judge.
“Dan’s experience is tremendous,” said Sununu. “Look at his body of work as a lawyer, his work at the liquor commission, his work on the Executive Council. He has a history of working across party lines and at the end of the day, frankly, has demonstrated good judgment.”
In addition to the votes on Planned Parenthood and his role at the liquor commission, Volinsky also raised concerns about a disciplinary action taken against St. Hilaire by the N.H. Judicial Branch Professional Conduct Committee.
“It’s the will of the council,” he said after the vote, “but I think we can do better. I’d like to see the quality of judicial nominees upgraded substantially and consistently.”