Nicholas Brennan

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Nicholas Brennan
70-something nearly-bald man in suit with blue tie
11th President of Laeral
In office
January 6, 2011 – January 6, 2019
Prime MinisterChen Ting-fei (2011-2012)
Gérald Barre (2012-2015)
Tanvi Misra (2015-2019)
Preceded byEliot Ganard
Succeeded byLiu Mei-han
Minister of Justice and Home Affairs
In office
January 6, 2005 – January 9, 2007
PresidentMaurice Fesnau, Eliot Ganard
Prime MinisterMonique Courtin
Assembly of Commons Representative
In office
January 6th, 1985 – November 1st, 2010
Parliamentary groupProgressive Party of Laeral
Personal details
Born (1949-03-27) March 27, 1949 (age 73)
Marist, Choisel, Laeral
Political partyProgressive Party
Height5 ft 7 in (170 cm)
Spouse(s)Francette Guirard Brennan
ChildrenLucas Brennan, Guillaume Brennan
Alma materUniversity of Meridoc
Georges Emmanuel and Adrienne Lematre University

Nicholas Maxence Brennan is a Laeralian politician and member of the Progressive Party who served as the 11th President of the Allied Provinces of Laeral from 2010 to 2018, where he oversaw Laeral's accession to the World Assembly and Laeralian intervention in the Second Lauchenoirian Civil War. Brennan was formerly the Minister of Justice, as well as an influential Representative in the Laeralian Assembly of Commons. He succeeded Eliot Ganard of the Laeralian People's Party as President following his victory in the second round of the 2010 Laeralian Presidential Election over the incumbent, and defeated Corinne Pelletier, also of the LPP, in 2014.

Early Life and Education[edit | edit source]

Brennan was born Nicholas Maxence Brennan on March 27th, 1949 to Gaston and Marguerite Brennan in Marist, the capital of Choisel province. He was the second son of the Catholic couple, between his older brother Etienne and younger sister Henriette. His father, Gaston Brennan, worked as an accountant for local businesses, while his mother was a housewife.

In 1952, when Brennan was four, his mother was paralyzed below the waist by a rampaging mob during the Bloody Summer. Although Brennan has said that he has no memory of the Bloody Summer, but has said that seeing the struggles his mother experienced under the limited welfare safety net of the ensuing decades was a major factor in shaping his pro-welfare stance.

While in high school, Brennan intended to become an accountant like his father, but decided on a career in law after his time as the leader of his high school's Mock Trial Association. Brennan attended the University of Meridoc for his Bachelor's Degree in Pre-law, and attended Georges Emmanuel and Adrienne Lematre University for law school, becoming certified as a practicing attorney soon after.

Legal Career[edit | edit source]

Brennan joined the for-profit legal firm Bonnet & Vidal in 1975, before joining the Laeralian Poverty Rights Compact (LPRC), a non-profit dedicated to protecting the rights of the disadvantaged, in 1976. He achieved some measure of renown while working as an attorney for the LPRC, notably by suing several major businesses for violating the Disabled Laeralites Act of 1968 by failing to provide wheelchair-accessible ramps at their facilities. In 1974, he married Francette Guirard, an attorney and niece of former president François Guirard. Their first son, Lucas, was born in 1977. During the presidential election of 1976, Brennan was involved in a case accusing Conservative Party candidate Alain Bricout of violating campaign finance laws, which was thrown out by the court. Brennan was offered a seat on the Laeralian Poverty Rights Compact Board of Directors in 1977.

Early Progressive Party Involvement[edit | edit source]

Following his involvement in the high-profile Bricout case, the Progressive Party offered Brennan a position on their legal team. Brennan accepted in 1978, becoming a senior member of the Progressive Legal Defense Committee. He was responsible for defending in court Progressive Party operations and members. In 1980, he was transferred away from active legal work to become a member of the influential Progressive Executive Committee on Policy's Subcommittee for Justice, responsible for writing Progressive positions on the actions of the Justice Ministry. After becoming Vice-Chair of the Justice Subcommittee, he was offered a position on the Progressive list for the Assembly of Commons in the 1984 elections, replacing a retiring incumbent in the 132nd position, and was elected to the Commons.

Assembly of Commons Representative[edit | edit source]

In 1986, the Progressives were in opposition to the government of centrist Léon Zeng; the Progressives would continue in opposition to successive right-wing governments until 1997. During this period, Brennan nevertheless achieved moderate legislative success in the field of criminal justice reform. Brennan continued his legislative career in this capacity for several years, achieving brief fame in 1994 for attacking President Michel Baudry's proposal for overhauling the system which appointed judges. His remarks, delivered during the President's Questions on June 3rd, 1995, were broadcast around the country.

Noted as an intelligent, dedicated backbencher, Brennan charted a decidedly moderate course, including supporting policies which he would later disavow, including barring gay men from becoming teachers, soldiers, or civil servants, and supporting the imprisonment of the Yen Cheng Estate Ring of Rén nationalists arrested in 1991. Brennan finally found himself in the majority following the 1997 Laeralian Federal Election.

Following the red bloc's 1997 victory, Brennan became a Deputy Whip for the Progressive Commons Caucus, responsible for ensuring that Progressive Representatives under Aurélien Demange's new Socialist-led government voted in accordance with coalition leadership's wishes. During this period of Socialist-Progressive governance, Brennan was cited as the author of the Fair Judicial Appointment Act, which established the modern Council on Judicial Appointments to appoint Judges nationwide. The bill passed in 1998.

Minister of Justice and Home Affairs[edit | edit source]

Brennan was appointed as Minister of Justice and Home Affairs in late 2004, under Monique Courtin's Socialist-Progressive coalition government. He lent his support to major overhauls of the Laeralian justice system, culminating in the Criminal Rehabilitation Act of 2005. This sweeping act changed major portions of the Laeralian legal code to promote better conditions for inmates in Laeralian prisons, including by eliminating the use of solitary confinement as a punishment, as well as eliminating the practice of minimum sentencing. This bill was applauded by criminal justice reform advocates and the left more generally. During his 2004 to 2007 term, Brennan also oversaw the passage of the Safety and Security Bill (2007), which provided a pay raise for federal law enforcement, as well as a bill mandating the long-term storage of sexual assault evidence (rape kits).

Impeachment of President Fesnau[edit | edit source]

In 2006, Brennan was thrust into the national spotlight in the far-ranging Fesnau Scandal. It was found that in 2003, President Maurice Fesnau's Chief of Staff had taken bribes from various companies and political organizations to influence the President into taking certain actions. In 2005, Representative Hervé Korgolot was arrested for bribery, followed by Fesnau's Chief of Staff and numerous other politicians. Brennan appointed Léandre D'Avenir as Special Prosecutor to investigate the emerging scandal. D'Avenir produced an explosive report in January 2006 which alleged that President Maurice Fesnau had accepted bribes to select Martel Defense Yards for a multibillion Mark defense contract, had turned a blind eye to bribes occurring under his watch. Fesnau was accused of having spent such funds on a mansion in Tirzah, Zamastan and a house in Choisel for his mistress. When the report had been issued, the Assembly of Commons passed an impeachment resolution, calling for the General Assembly and Constitutional Court to convene and decide whether to remove President Fesnau from office.

Upon the report's release, Brennan came under fire from prominent Socialists, as Special Prosecutor D'Avenir was accused of having been a political operator, due to his status as a registered Conservative. The D'Avenir Report had also contained damaging details, such as the identity of Fesnau's mistress, that some considered sensationalist and exceeding the Special Prosecutor's mandate. Brennan defended D'Avenir's impartiality, receiving criticism in the left-wing media and calls for Brennan to be removed from government; Brennan described receiving death threats at the time. During the impeachment proceedings, Justice Minister Brennan was called upon to testify before the General Assembly-Constitutional Court special session, regarding his choice of D'Avenir and his personal trust of the Special Prosecutor. Fesnau was impeached by a two-thirds majority in August of 2006. In the 2006 special presidential election which ensued, as well as the legislative elections of that year, the Progressives lost seats and were pushed from power by a right-wing Laeralian People's Party-Conservative coalition.

Ganard Administration and Return to Power[edit | edit source]

Brennan continued as Shadow Minister of Justice within the Progressive opposition. Newly-elected President Eliot Ganard, of the Laeralian People's Party had proposed various criminal justice plans which Brennan had publicly opposed. The global financial crisis of 2008, however, distracted the Ganard Administration from their criminal justice initiatives, although Brennan did end up stalling a proposed freeze on judicial salaries. In 2009, campaigning on a platform of economic revival, the Progressives seized power in the Assembly of Commons. Chen Ting-fei, the Leader of the Opposition, was elected Prime Minister, although some had encouraged Brennan himself to make a bid for the position. Brennan in fact declined an offer to reclaim his former position as Minister of Justice, instead launching a nationwide speaking tour which was widely interpreted as laying the groundwork for a presidential run.

2010 Presidential Campaign[edit | edit source]

In 2010, with People's Party President Eliot Ganard running for re-election, the Progressives sought a candidate to win the position. After Prime Minister Chen Ting-fei made the surprise announcement that he would not run for the Progressive nomination, Brennan entered a field that included Delegate Matthieu Lu-Rossignol and Representative Marie-Claire Beringer. Campaigning based on his legislative experience, perception of being honorable and fair, and moderate policies, Brennan won the Progressive primary with 58% of all votes cast.

Brennan campaigned hard against Ganard, promising an economic revival and greater regulation of business. Ganard, whose approval ratings had reached near-record lows by summer of 2010, made a notable gaffe on the campaign trail in which he said that the Laeralian economy was "a heck of a machine". Brennan won 38% of the vote in the first round, compared with 32% for Ganard. He defeated Ganard in a landslide in the second round, 60% to 39%, and entered office with great support in the National Assembly. The first Progressive to be elected president since Joseph Carlier's 1973-81 tenure, Brennan's victory marked the ascendancy of the Progressives as the prevailing party of the Laeralian left.

President of Laeral[edit | edit source]

As President, Brennan pledged to be pragmatic and avoid ideology. His first Prime Minister, Chen Ting-fei, led a Progressive-Conservative coalition with broad majorities in both houses of the National Assembly. The main focus of Brennan's first two years in office was on restarting the economy. Within his first month in office, Brennan sacked the head of the Bank of Laeral. He imposed moderate austerity measures while passing a tax reform bill which increased government revenue. Meanwhile, Brennan focused on increasing international trade and boosting employment, although he did engage in high-profile criminal prosecutions of various bankers. In 2012, the Progressive-led coalition retained a reduced majority in the Assembly of Commons; a cabinet reshuffle led moderate Conservative Gérald Barre, who retained good relations with Brennan, to be appointed PM.

During his first term, Brennan also passed the Renewed Transportation Act of 2011, which imposed major reforms on the state-run railway system and increased spending on airports and port dredging and the Securing Nuclear Materials Act of 2012, which imposed greater standards on nuclear power while increased funding for the industry.

In 2014, Brennan ran for reelection, facing LPP Representative Corinne Pelletier in the second round. Brennan defeated Pelletier with 55% of the vote, yet concurrent legislative elections were mixed, and a lengthy government-formation process ended with Tanvi Misra, a Progressive, being appointed as prime minister at the head of a Progressive-Conservative-Socialist coalition.

Facing increasing difficulties in domestic lawmaking, Brennan's second term focused on foreign relations rather than domestic issues. In the New Year's Address of 2015, Brennan announced his intentions for Laeral to join the World Assembly, an undertaking that would require Laeral to be in accordance with General Assembly regulations. This was met with broad support from across the political spectrum, giving Brennan a broad mandate. Marie-Claire Beringer, Liu Mei-han, and many others were assigned to achieve this goal. Misra's unwieldy Progressive-Conservative-Socialist coalition was brought together around the common goal of WA accession. Dozens of pieces of legislation designed to bring Laeral into compliance with WA law were passed, including criminal justice reforms, military and police reforms, and others. In 2017, Laeral was accepted into the World Assembly.

As the 2018 Laeralian General Election approached, Brennan endorsed Tanvi Misra for President of Laeral. Brennan presided over the response to the 2018 Laeralsford Blackout, the murder of Representative Christian Zhou, and the ensuing riots in Cordeliers. When Misra failed to proceed to the second round of the presidential election, finishing in third, Brennan endorsed Liu Mei-han over Damien Vendorme. Brennan's term as president ended in January 2019.

Post-Presidency[edit | edit source]

Following the end of his term, Brennan retired from public life, although he discussed the possibility of becoming involved with a non-profit foundation or think tank. As a former president, he is also entitled to sit as a judge of the Laeralian Constitutional Court.

Family and Personal Life[edit | edit source]

Nicholas Brennan is married to Francette Guichard Brennan, an attorney whom he met during his years of private practice. They have two sons, Lucas and Guillaume.