In a historic vote, Connecticut lawmakers unanimously confirmed Associate Justice Richard Robinson as the next chief justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court. He becomes the first African-American to hold the judicial branch’s top job.

The Senate on Thursday voted 36-0 in favor of Robinson’s nomination, with one top Republican lauding him as “a man of the people” who has remained grounded while having a “stellar career” as an attorney, superior court judge, and associate justice. The House of Representatives unanimously approved Robinson’s nomination on Monday.

Robinson, 60, was Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s second chief justice nominee this session. Associate Justice Andrew McDonald, a former Democratic state senator, and Malloy’s former legal counsel would have been the nation’s first openly gay chief justice of a state Supreme Court if confirmed. He was narrowly rejected by the Senate in March.

Some of McDonald’s supporters, including Malloy, accused opponents of blocking the nomination for political reasons and because McDonald is openly gay. Opponents vehemently denied the accusations, claiming McDonald has been an “activist jurist.” McDonald has denied that charge.

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