The Senate Should Reject The Two Supreme Court Nominations

“In nominating Bruce Harris and Phillip Kwon to the state Supreme Court, Christie has done what no other governor has ever done – tried to make the Supreme Court an arm of his political party. Now, Christie is asking the Legislature to accept three Republican nominations in a row.” – James Harris, President, NJ NAACP

The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to meet on Thursday to review Governor Christie’s two recent Supreme Court nominations of Phillip Kwon and Bruce Harris, following upon his nomination of Anne Patterson, who was confirmed last year. Christie has made no secret of his intentions, “saying he wanted to rein in a court he considers too activist.”

“Activist” in matters Christie approves of is perfectly acceptable (such as denying marriage equality), but the court’s recent decisions on school education and  the Council on Affordable Housing are not to his liking. Christie touts Mr. Kwon as an independent, yet for ten years living in NY Kwon was a registered Republican, and only changed his affiliation to Independent when he moved to Closter in 2010. Christie made much of the fact that Mr. Harris is openly gay. However Christie also said Harris agreed to recuse himself from voting on gay issues that come before the Supreme Court if he is approved.

So our governor is acting cleverly but improperly in proposing one individual whose credential as an independent is dubious and unsubstantiated and another individual who as an openly gay man will recuse himself in civil rights cases at the heart of his own identity.

Other questions will be broached during the hearings, including Kwon’s involvement in his family liquor store and Harris’ limited legal experience outside the world of high finance. Regardless, the Senate should reject these nominations. Christie should nominate new individuals who are what they say they are and who do not agree to tying one arm behind their back.  

Comments (22)

  1. William Weber (WjcW)

    I don’t remember the court denying marriage equality. Seems to me they said the legislature should fix it. The all democratic legislature came up with ‘civil unions’, didn’t it? And keep in mind, the court gave them PERFECT cover, they could have legalized gay marriage right then and there and said, ‘The court made us do it,’ and it would have been true.

  2. zi985

    Philip Kwon and Jaynee LaVecchia might claim to be “Independents” but in reality, they are both Republicans who have either been declared Republicans in the past or worked in multiple Republican administrations (like LaVecchia who worked with former Republican Governors Tom Kean and Christie Whitman).  This would mean that, along with Republican Justices Bruce Harris, Anne Patterson, and Helen Hoens, there would be FIVE Republican Justices and TWO Democratic Justices (Chief Justice Stuart Rabner and Justice Barry Albin).  This has never happened before in NJ and it should certainly NOT happen under the watch of a Democratic Senate majority.  In addition Harris has zero judicial experience and Kwon has a lot of mixed baggage.  Christie can shout all he wants about how Kwon and LaVecchia are “Independents” but the reality is that they are Republicans and I’d rather not see a court composed of 71.4% Republicans.  In addition, if Christie is re-elected in 2013 he will have the opportunity to review whether or not to nominate Chief Justice Stuart Rabner for tenure in June 2014 when his 7-year term is up and if past history is any indication Christie will not give him tenure and will nominate a “Independent” who is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.  

    Blue Jersey’s own Loretta Weinberg, who serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee, should vote down both Harris and Kwon at tomorrow’s committee confirmation hearings.  For those interested in attending, the NJ Supreme Court confirmation hearings will be taking place at 10:30am, Thursday, March 22nd in Committee Room 4, 1st Floor, State House Annex, Trenton, NJ.  You should call your NJ Senator today letting them know you would like them to vote against confirming Harris and Kwon to the NJ Supreme Court, and especially call up Senate Democrats that serve on the Judiciary Committee (Chairman Nick Scutari [D-22], Vice-Chairwoman Nia Gill [D-34], Raymond Lesniak [D-20], Nellie Pou [D-35], Bob Smith [D-17], Brian Stack [D-33], and Loretta Weinberg [D-37]).  Senator Gill should definitely vote both of them down since she is currently running for Congress in the 10th Congressional District and this vote will be an indicator of her views on the kind of Judiciary should would like to see in NJ and the country.  

  3. True Sue

    the all democrat legislature refused to bring the M E  bill for corzine to sign .Instead brought it to Christie who they knew would veto ….so who are they kidding now if they reject these choices ….Our voters aren’t so stupid after all  

  4. 12mileseastofTrenton

    Vote down Kwon because he’s a Republican masquerading as a Democrat.

  5. Bill Orr (Post author)

    We are presented with two individuals from Central Casting – or more accurately from Christie Casting – one who is an “independent” Asian-American and one who is both Black and gay. However, one is not independent and the other is compromised. As Abraham Lincoln said, “You may deceive all the people part of the time, and part of the people all the time, but not all the people all the time.”  We are being deceived.


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