We welcome today our new Senator-elect the Honorable Cory Booker: He won last night with almost all precincts reporting by 55% (713,594 votes) to 44% (579,388 votes.) The turnout appears to be an anemic 24% although all votes, including mail-in ballots, have not been counted. Good riddance to the ugly campaign of Steve Lonegan. And we will not miss place holder and Christie-appointee Senator Jeff Chiesa who on September 30, and on October 1, 8, 9, and 12 voted to impede progress on a Continuing Resolution and on plans to end the debt default crisis. He finally gave up last night and bowed to the inevitable. With his departure and Booker’s arrival there will be 55 Senators who caucus with the Democrats.
After using a government shutdown as a hostage to kill the Affordable Care Act and threatening to place America in default, Republicans surrendered yesterday. S&P estimates the shutdown has resulted in a loss of $24 billion and will reduce this quarter’s economic growth from 3% to 2%. Although 144 Representatives voted against the Senate compromise, all New Jersey congressmen, with the exception of Scott Garrett ( R CD 5), voted to reopen government and allow the U. S. to borrow and pay its debts. Unfortunately all they did was to kick the can down the road to January and February when the same issues will be revisited.
Christie creating his own Supreme Court and … : Today the Senate Judiciary Committee will meet to consider the governor’s nomination of Camden County Superior Court Assignment Judge Faustino Fernández-Vina to be an Associate Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court. Both Senate President Steve Sweeney and Senator Donald Norcoss (D-5) have stated their support for Judge Fernández-Vina. He is seen as replacing Republican Justice Helen Hoens to whom Christie refused tenure.
On the Supreme Court today there are currently two Democrats (Chief Justice Stuart Rabner and Justice Barry T. Albin), one Republican (Justice Anne M. Patterson) and one Independent (Justice Jaynee LaVecchia). In addition there are three vacancies to which the Chief Justice appoints temporary members. Although initially the new nominee was thought to be a Democrat, it appears he is a Republican. if he is confirmed there would be 2 Dem’s, 2 Rep’s. and 1 Ind. – a balanced court. However two other Christie nominees are in waiting and if confirmed would lead to an unbalanced court. Gov. Christie will have put in place four of his nominees, including Patterson. Christie has made clear his desire to reconfigure the court in his image, and he is on the way to doing just that.
…Threatening the court’s independence: Christie is also doing something no prior governor has done: he is refusing to grant tenure to certain justices which can make sitting members without tenure think twice about their vote on political matters such as affordable housing, marriage equality, and education. The respect of our Supreme Court is in jeopardy as are so many issues important to progressives.
Buono/Silva gubernatorial campaign: Barbara Buono: 8:20am, interview, SiriusXM satellite radio’s P.O.T.U.S. Channel 124; Barbara Buono with Campaign Chair Bonnie Watson Coleman and Democratic State Committee Vice Chair Lizette Delgado-Polanco, 10:00am, a conference call to talk about voting irregularities resulting from Governor Christie’s self-serving special election.
Christie/Guadagno gubernatorial campaign: Chris Christie: probably joined by Cory Booker, 2:30pm, a groundbreaking ceremony at the future site of Springfield Avenue Marketplace, Newark.
NJ Senate: 12:00 noon, Quorum Call, Statehouse, Trenton.
The Senate Judiciary Committee: 1:30pm, to consider the nomination of Faustino Fernández-Vina to be an Associate Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court and other nominees to the NJ Educational Facilities Authority, Committee Room 4, Statehouse Annex. Listen live here.
The Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee: 1:30pm, hearing on the opioid abuse epidemic, Room 1, Statehouse Annex.
The Senate Higher Education Committee: 10:00am, hearing on the reporting requirements of graduation rates by institutions of higher education, Committee Room 10, Statehouse Annex.