Governor Christie Compromises On Supreme Court Nominees [VIDEO/AUDIO]
Board of Public Utilities, president Robert Hanna, an Independent and Superior Court judge David Bauman, an Asian-American Republican have been nominated by Governor Chris Christie to fill two vacancies on the New Jersey Supreme Court.
Christie originally said he would only nominate two Republicans, but he is now willing to compromise. The Democrat-controlled State Senate rejected Christie's last two nominees.
"I hope that with putting forward these candidates the Senate will put aside politics now," explains Christie. "We've waited long enough to fill these vacancies…..I hope that the Democrats in the Senate will stop playing political games and give these folks the (confirmation) hearings that they deserve and a fair up or down vote."
It remains unclear what the Democrat-controlled Senate will do. Senate President Steve Sweeney will only say, "The Governor has made his nominations, as is his right. At this point in time, however, it would be inappropriate for me to comment further."
The Senate Judiciary Committee has a hearing scheduled for this Thursday, but chairman, Nick Scutari has not added a hearing for Hanna or Bauman on the agenda.
Christie says he asked his senior staffers to, "Look for people who could signal a compromise on my part to the State Senate and so that would mean not nominating two Republicans……It is contrary to previous public statements of mine. The reason it is is because I'm attempting to compromise."
The Governor says he isn't sure if his nominees will be confirmed and insists there is no private agreement with Sweeney. He says, "No deal means no deal."
Hanna, 54, a lawyer with nearly 30 years of legal experience, has served as the President of the Board of Public Utilities since December 2011, when he was unanimously approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee and full Senate for the post. For the two years prior to that, he served as Director of the Division of Law and Assistant Attorney General within the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety.
Bauman, 56, currently sits as the Presiding Judge, Civil Division, in Monmouth County. After 17 years in private practice, Judge Bauman was nominated in 2008 for the post by Governor Corzine. He was unanimously approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee and confirmed by the full Senate 37-0. A veteran, Judge Bauman served 4 years on Active Duty with the United States Marine Corps, and an additional 12 years as a Reservist. On Active Duty, Judge Bauman served as Defense Counsel, Prosecutor and Special Counsel with the Naval Investigative Service, trying over 30 jury and bench trials at special and general courts martial.
The New Jersey Supreme Court has been asked to hear cases on gay marriage, affordable housing and school funding. Christie says he hasn't asked Bauman or Hanna their thoughts on those issues.