TRENTON – After emphasizing that his nominee had the experience and qualifications to serve on the New Jersey Supreme Court, Gov. Chris Christie blasted the seven Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee who voted against Bruce Harris yesterday, claiming that they “made a mockery of the process.”
“Democrats decided that merit doesn’t actually matter, that intellect doesn’t actually matter, that temperament doesn’t actually matter, and in fact that diversity doesn’t actually matter, either.” Christie said in a video posted to the governor’s YouTube account yesterday evening. “The reality is that they just don’t want another Republican on the court.”
State Sen. Nia Gill, in particular, drew the governor’s ire for suggesting Harris, who is openly gay, might have made a deal to recuse himself from any potential gay marriage vote in exchange for the nomination. “Bruce Harris didn’t make any deal to get on the New Jersey Supreme Court,” Christie said. “He made a decision that he informed me of after I nominated him that he would recuse on same-sex marriage because of his previous advocacy as an elected official for the same-sex marriage legislation that was considered by the Legislature in 2009. But that reality didn’t matter and she should be ashamed of herself for making an accusation like that.”
Responding to criticisms that Harris lacked trial experience, Christie said, “Litigation experience has never been a litmus test for being a qualified justice… we’ve had justices who’ve sat on the court – both past and present – without any litigation experience in their background.”
Harris is the second state Supreme Court nominee to be rejected by the Senate Judiciary Committee since Christie took office. In a vote that went strictly along party lines, the committee rejected Phil Kwon in March. This time, state Sen. Brian Stack (D-Hudson) joined five Republicans in voting in favor of Harris.
Christie vowed to continue to nominate Republicans to the court until he has a 4-3 majority.
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