Unanswered Questions

In my interview with Senator Loretta Weinberg, below, she expresses concerns about “unanswered questions” from the confirmation hearing of Phillip Kwon for Supreme Court Associate Justice.

I’ll let her speak for herself, and then add some personal observations, below the fold.

Even after sitting through 8 hours of testimony, I have a nagging feeling that we did not hear all of the facts regarding the Kwon nomination. Some things just don’t make sense.

I’m neither a lawyer nor an accountant, but even I know that transactions above $10,000 receive special scrutiny. Kwon’s answer about the string of numerous transactions below that level just don’t pass the smell test, especially given that his wife – half owner of the liquor store – is an investment banker and would certainly be familiar with banking regulations.

I also don’t understand the bit about the transfer of about a quarter million dollars from one bank to another in a series of seven smaller checks. The reason given was that Kwon’s mother was concerned about losing a single check. But aren’t transactions like this typically done using electronic transfer? Certainly Kwon’s wife would have known that.

Kwon also said he wanted to get “politically engaged”, but testified that he never attended a political meeting or rally. Again, something is just not right here.

For a Supreme Court justice to be credible, his or her actions need to be above reproach. Kwon’s answers don’t convince me that he meets this test. The Committee did the right thing by rejecting him.

Comment (1)

  1. zi985

    We all know Christie will retaliate against the Senate Dems for voting down Kwon today.  He will probably find a nominee for the Supreme Court who will do his bidding on the Court but that has a virtually flawless track record and has at least some judicial experience.  This candidate will probably be a Republican so as to avoid the appearance that he’s a fake Independent which plagued Kwon at today’s hearings.  Christie will continue to make the claim that his new Republican nominee would not break the 4-3 majority party rule on the Court because he’ll claim Justice Jaynee Lavecchia is an “Independent.”  If the Senate Dems were to vote down this second nominee it would begin to make the Dems look really bad so the likelihood of one more Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee (other than Brian Stack, a Christiecrat) voting in favor of this new Republican nominee is pretty likely.  Think back to 2005-06 when George W. Bush nominated Harriet Miers to the U.S. Supreme Court, who then withdrew her nomination after the controversy it created.  He then nominated Samuel Alito who was confirmed by the U.S. Senate 58-42 (with 4 Dems voting for him and 1 Republican and 1 Independent voting against him).  The U.S. Senate had a Republican majority at the time so Bush was able to nominate a very conservative Judge successfully.  Christie will probably nominate someone who is a bit less conservative than Alito so that his nominee can get at least 2 Dems on the Senate Judiciary Committee to vote for him/her and at least 5 Senate Dems in the whole NJ Senate.

    Let’s also remember that the current NJ Supreme Court Chief Justice, Democrat Stuart Rabner, will have his seven year term expire on June 29, 2014.  If Christie is elected to a second term he would be able to refuse to nominate Rabner for tenure and appoint a completely new Chief Justice.  Since Christie refused to give tenure to former Justice John E. Wallace, Jr. he will probably inclined to do the same to Rabner, especially after how the Senate Dems treated Kwon at today’s hearing.  

    My guess is that at least one other Senate Dem on the Judiciary Committee (along with Christiecrat Brian Stack) will vote in favor of Bruce Harris at his confirmation hearing in the next week or two.  For one thing he doesn’t have any baggage like Kwon had (with the exception of zero judicial experience).  Also, Harris is currently 61 years old which means that he could only serve on the NJ Supreme Court for just under 9 years (until January 4, 2021).  Compare this to the possible 25 years Kwon could have served on the NJ Supreme Court had he been successfully voted on today.


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