TRENTON – Governor Chris Christie today made two historic nominations to the New Jersey State Supreme Court with Bruce A. Harris, Mayor of Chatham, a lawyer with over 20 years of legal experience, and Phillip H. Kwon, First Assistant Attorney General in the Department of Law and Public Safety and former Deputy Chief of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division.
Harris will become the third African-American to serve on the State Supreme Court and the first openly gay member of the Court. Kwon will become the first Asian-American to serve on the Supreme Court and the first immigrant to serve since the 1947 Constitution created the Court.
“I am extraordinarily proud to announce these two historic nominations to the New Jersey State Supreme Court. Bruce and Phil are each accomplished and talented individuals with skilled legal minds who are highly respected in the legal community. Just as importantly, each of them has demonstrated a remarkable commitment to serving their state and communities,” said Christie.
“Additionally, not only do their different backgrounds and career paths bring distinctive and important perspectives to the Supreme Court, Bruce and Phil also capture our state’s diversity in a way never before seen in the history of the Court,” Christie said.
“I want to congratulate Governor Christie on his historic nominations for New Jersey’s Supreme Court,” said Assembly Deputy Speaker John S. Wisniewski (D-Middlesex.) “They offer the potential for a more insightful court that can better represent our people. While the New Jersey State Senate must conduct a diligent review of the Governor’s nominees before a final judgment can be rendered, I am encouraged that the Governor has recognized the concern raised by many regarding the lack of diversity in the court’s present membership with these nominations.”
Bruce Harris is a lawyer with over 20 years of legal experience, most recently working at the law firm of Greenberg Traurig and previously at Riker, Danzi, Scherer, Hyland and Perretti. His work has focused primarily on issues of public finance and commercial lending. Harris graduated magna cum lade from Amherst College and graduated with honors from Boston University Graduate School of Management and Yale Law School.
Harris has a long record of service to his town and community, including his recent election as Mayor of Chatham Borough and previously service as a member of the Chatham Borough Council. He has served on the Chatham Environmental Commission, the Chatham Historic Preservation Commission, and on the boards of the UMDNJ Foundation and the New Jersey Health Foundation.
Kwon currently serves as First Assistant Attorney General where he has been the principal legal and strategic adviser to the Attorney General. Previously, he served New Jersey as part of the United States Attorney’s Office as the Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division, the Chief of the Violent Crimes Unit and the Assistant US Attorney of both the Special Prosecutions Division and the Criminal Division. In that capacity, he was the lead prosecutor on a diverse range of federal crimes and public corruption matters, in addition to taking on cases against some of New Jersey’s most notorious and violent groups, such as the Bloods, Crips, and Latin Kings.
Kwon graduated from Georgetown University and from Rutgers Law School where he was an editor of the Law Review.
Both nominations are subject to Senate confirmation.
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