Sununu's Supreme Court Pick Answers Questions on Commission Service, Guns, Philosophy

Jun 19, 2017

Credit Sheehan, Phinney, Bass & Green

Governor Chris Sununu’s pick to join New Hampshire’s Supreme Court, Bobbie Hantz, was questioned by the Executive Council Monday.  

She faced questions about her judicial philosophy, views on the Second Amendment, and the fact that she served on Governor’s Judicial selection commission until the day she applied to join the state’s highest court.

“I did not apply to a commission I was a member of. I resigned almost coincident with my application," Hantz said. 

"This commission did not have the year waiting period. Governor Lynch’s did. My understanding is Governor Shaheen’s did not. So it has been a personal selection by the Governor.”

In fact, Governor Sununu’s commission is the first to allow members to seek a judgeship without waiting a year.

On guns, Hantz told the Executive Council she believed the Second Amendment was a collective and individual right, but also said she wasn’t familiar with the particulars of the Heller decision.

That ruling struck down a Washington D.C. handgun ban and spelled out an individual's right to possess a firearm.

Hantz also said she sees the court as a place free of ideology.

Hantz’s legal practice at the firm Sheehan Phinney focuses on land-use and family law. She’s also been Executive Director of the New Hampshire Republican party and sits on the board of the Josiah Bartlett center, a free-market think tank.

Related: Conservative think tank has deep ties to Sununu

Hantz told councilors politics won’t inform her thinking on the court if she’s confirmed.

“The court is an unbiased hearing board, so ideology doesn’t enter into the role of a judge or a justice. So I don’t put myself on an ideological spectrum, so much as I’m curious in terms of issues of policy.”

Before serving on Governor Sununu's judicial selection commission, Hantz served on a commission put together by former Governor John Lynch. She indicated she’s been eyeing a judicial post for some time; once applying to join the circuit court; another time the superior court.

This year, she told the council, her focus was on the Supreme Court.