GSP Testimony on NH Supreme Court Chief Justice Nominee Gordon MacDonald Raises Questions Around SB 193 Reversal, Affordable Care Act, Reproductive Rights

Concord, NH – Today Granite State Progress testified before the Executive Council during the confirmation hearing for NH Supreme Court Chief Justice nominee Gordon MacDonald. Key highlights from Granite State Progress testimony include:

  • MacDonald lacks judicial experience and previous court decisions, approaches from which to draw conclusions about his suitability for Chief Justice or Supreme Court judge, making scrutiny of his private practice and advocacy more pressing.
  • MacDonald spent most of the last decade – 7 years – as a Board member and officer for the conservative think tank the Josiah Bartlett Center. During that time, the Bartlett Center advocated in opposition of Affordable Care Act implementation, Medicaid expansion, RGGI and renewable energy projects, and in support of school privatization efforts, right to work, and significantly changing public pensions.MacDonald must answer how his views on these subjects have impacted his work at the Attorney General of New Hampshire and how they might impact his decisions as a Supreme Court judge and chief justice.
  • Specifically, as Attorney General, MacDonald reversed the department’s position on the constitutionality of SB 193, a school voucher bill designed to divert public taxpayer dollars to private and religious schools. The Bartlett Center helped draft and lobby for school vouchers, including SB 193, during MacDonald’s time as a Board member and officer yet MacDonald did not recuse himself.
  • MacDonald did not sign onto a state coalition lawsuits to defend the Affordable Care Act and health care for hundreds of thousands of Granite Staters, a law which the Bartlett Center railed against when MacDonald was a board member, or a net neutrality lawsuit, which the Bartlett Center parent network opposes.
  • MacDonald did not join with 44 other states on a landmark drug price-fixing lawsuit that includes over 20 companies and 112 generic drugs treating a large range of diseases. MacDonald is a former lead attorney for opioid manufacturer Purdue Pharma, the maker of the drug OxyContin, and argued in the weeks before he became Attorney General that the NH AG’s office should not be able to hire an outside firm to help sift through millions of pages of documents about whether the drug company deceived consumers about the addictiveness of their opioids.
  • MacDonald did not sign onto a state coalition lawsuit to challenge the Trump Administration’s domestic gag rule that affects critical health access for contraception, cancer screenings, exams, and other related health services for women and their families in New Hampshire. MacDonald previously served as legal counsel for the Manchester Diocese, which opposes all abortion and most forms of contraception; as the legislative director for US Senator Gordon Humphrey when Humphrey sponsored a number of anti-abortion bills; and as a delegate to the 2016 RNC National Convention for anti-choice politician Marco Rubio.
  • In contrast, MacDonald has been active around the Wayfair Ruling, participating in a panel hosted by the Josiah Bartlett Center in October 2018 and promising attendees swift legal action and enforcement on the matter.

“Granite State Progress encourages the Executive Council and public to ask Mr. MacDonald how his views and prior advocacy on these subjects have impacted his work as the Attorney General of New Hampshire and how they might impact his future decisions as a Supreme Court judge and chief justice,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director of Granite State Progress. “The State Supreme Court is too important to rush thru a nomination without doing the due diligence to obtain answers to these questions.”

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Granite State Progress is a progressive advocacy organization that addresses issues of immediate state and local concern. Granite State Progress works as a communications hub for the progressive community to provide a strong, credible voice in advancing progressive solutions to critical community problems.