Nixon Appointee Dies at 79

Nixon appointed judge and Connecticut Governor Thomas J. Meskill has died in a Florida hospital at the age of 79. Christopher Keating from Courant.com has the story about a man described as enormously courageous during his tenure in the Federal Judiciary.

After being named a federal judge by President Richard M. Nixon in one of his final acts in office, Meskill remained out of the spotlight and purposely avoided getting involved in politics while seated on the bench.

But in a rare joint appearance, Meskill spoke publicly in 1997 during a taping for Connecticut Public Television with then-Gov. John G. Rowland and former Gov. William A. O’Neill in a roundtable discussion about their toughest decisions and greatest accomplishments.

Meskill said his toughest decision was deciding not to run for re-election in 1975. Many believed that he did not run because of the public outcry over his failure to remain in the state during a major ice storm in December 1973, but Meskill rejected that widely held belief. Instead, he said the real reason he stepped down as governor was that he no longer wanted his five children – aged 2 to 13 – to be living in the governor’s mansion at 990 Prospect Avenue in Hartford’s West End.

“It’s a very unreal life for very young children to be brought to school by a state trooper,” Meskill said at the time. “I didn’t want to continue that lifestyle for them.” Continue Reading.

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