Bruce Harris could have been New Jersey’s third African-American State Supreme Court associate justice and the first openly gay jurist on the high court, but he was rejected this afternoon by the Senate Judiciary Committee 7-6.  

The vote tally is exactly the same as it was in March when Governor Chris Christie’s first nominee, Phil Kwon became the first in modern history to be shot down.

At a press conference after the vote, Christie was not pleased with the rejection. “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.

Christie saw it as nothing but politics. “They (Senate Democrats) had gotten their marching orders and they were engaged in a political assassination. If they did so, I hope they’re proud of themselves.”

Harris said courtroom experience, while helpful, isn’t absolutely necessary and addressing the gay marriage issue he said, “My decision to recuse myself on same-sex marriage is no political calculus.”

The nominee also insists he made no deals with the Christie Administration regarding how he would rule on issues like school funding. Christie has long criticized the court for legislating from the bench and while he was on the gubernatorial campaign trial he vowed to reshape the court.

Christie says as was the case with Kwon, he has no 'Plan B’ for replacing Harris. “One thing was clear today; Bruce Harris never had a chance because he was never given one by the Senate Democrats."

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