Our Opinion: Third time a charm?


The Governor's Council may or may not have actually gotten it right the first time, when it apparently rejected the nomination of Pittsfield attorney Michael J. McCarthy for a District Court judgeship. Maybe the third time will be a charm, if councilors can put aside concerns about the appointment that cannot be justified.

Governor Patrick's nominee of Mr. McCarthy was defeated by a 3-3 tie vote last September when Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray, who normally presides but was on a trade mission, was unavailable to cast a tie vote in his favor. Councilor Mary Ellen Manning voted to abstain, but in October went to the council office to change her vote in favor. She is no longer on the council following the November 6 election. Councilor Michael Albano of the Western Massachusetts District and others on the council argue that Mr. McCarthy has now been approved by a 4-3 vote, while Councilor Marilyn P. Devaney, who voted against Mr. McCarthy, told The Eagle that she is disturbed by the effort to get the nomination approved by this method.

It does seem odd that a vote publicly cast can be changed at leisure in private. Also odd is the rationale of councilors for voting against Mr. McCarthy based on an innocuous answer to a question about court procedures. The insistence by foes that Mr. McCarthy said he would try to help a young prosecutor tangled up by procedural issues is a stretch that feeds speculation the nominee was a victim of baseless political bias on the part of eastern Massachusetts councilors.

The wide, consistent support for Mr. McCarthy's nomination from the legal and business communities and political officials from Berkshire County should be more than enough to outweigh councilors' contrived objections to his nomination. The council can render the disputed first vote and the wrong-headed second vote irrelevant by casting a third vote to approve Mr. McCarthy to the judgeship.


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