Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who took office two years ago pledging to make the courts as diverse as Connecticut's society, today nominated Andrew J. McDonald as the first openly gay justice of the state Supreme Court. McDonald, 46, was an influential legal voice as co-chairman of the General Assembly's Judiciary Committee before he left the legislature two years ago to become Malloy's top legal adviser as general counsel. He is a longtime confidant of Malloy. Before becoming a legislator, he served as city attorney in Stamford when Malloy was mayor. Malloy said he selected McDonald to work for him both times for a simple reason. "In my estimation, Andrew possesses an exceptional ability to understand and analyze, research and evaluate legal issues," he said. Malloy said those skills will make McDonald a "great jurist." An emotional McDonald said he was humbled the first time he argued before the Connecticut Supreme Court. "The notion that one day I might sit as a member of that court is something I couldn't have imagined," he said. If confirmed by the legislature, McDonald would succeed Lubbie J. Harper Jr., who was Malloy's first appointment to the court. Harper reached the mandatory retirement age of 70 in November. Malloy has a second vacancy to fill: Justice Ian McLachlan also is 70.