Yesterday, the Democrat-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee rejected Governor Chris Christie's nomination of Bruce Harris to the State Supreme Court.

Harris could have been the third African-American and first openly gay person to serve of the High Court. This is Christie's second crushing defeat at the hands of the Democrats in just over two months. In March, the same Senate panel rejected Christie's nominee, Phil Kwon.

Christie is clearly not pleased with the rejection. He says, "The very fact that Bruce Harris was sacrificed in the name of politics is a dishonor to this institution."

Senator Brian Stack was the lone Democrat to support the Harris nomination just as he was with the Kwon nomination. Other Democrats expressed concerns about Harris' lack of courtroom experience, his statement that he would recuse himself on a gay marriage case and that the court would not be fairly balanced.

Traditionally, a New Jersey Governor gets to have four Supreme Court justices who share his or her political party. The current make up of the court is two Republicans, Two Democrats, one Independent and two vacancies.

Democrats claim the Independent is really a Republican. Christie says that's nonsense.

The Supreme Court is expected to soon vote on very weighty issues that impact the bank accounts of every New Jerseyan and the personal lives of many or least the personal lives of many people we may know. The way education is funded and how much you pay in property taxes is one issue, and whether or not same-sex marriage should be legal in this state is another.

If Christie and the top Democrat in the State Senate each hold their ground, the two vacancies that currently exist could exist for the unforeseeable future.

Christie says, "I'm not nominating Democrats. I'm just not until there's four Republicans….. Once there's four Republicans if another vacancy comes open I'll nominate a Democrat, but until that time I'm not going to……If they want Democrats for the court they better win the next election so, they better start working now I guess."

Democratic State Senate President Steve Sweeney says, "We will, I guess cross that bridge when we cross it. He can nominate who he wants. He can't make me do a hearing."

Sweeney also reminds the Christie that there were two recent elections, "He was elected Governor, but they elected a Senate that's Democrat and we have a right to voice our opinions."

"You know, (selecting a nominee is the) Governor's prerogative," explains Sweeney. "Our prerogative is to stand our position too, which is a balanced court."


Courtesy Governor's Office