|New Jersey Star-Ledger|
The New Jersey Star-Ledger reports:
A group of black state legislators announced its opposition to Gov. Chris Christie's choice of a gay, black Republican for the Supreme Court on Thursday, mounting evidence that Democrats were ready to reject the second of the governor's high court picks.Interestingly, the Star-Ledger editorialized Sunday in favor of the Harris nomination. Only time will tell if that will have any impact on the votes necessary to lead to confirmation of New Jersey's first openly gay State Supreme Court justice.
The New Jersey Legislative Black Caucus told The Associated Press that attorney Bruce Harris's legal qualifications fall short of the high standard required of the court's seven justices. No blacks currently sit on the court."The nomination of Mr. Harris sends the wrong message , that we can only achieve diversity on the Supreme Court through lowering the bar for qualifications," said Sen. Ron Rice, the caucus leader. "In a state with many distinguished African-American lawyers and judges, nothing could be further from the truth."The Republican governor failed to reappoint the court's only black justice in 2010, touching off a firestorm among Democrats. Justice John Wallace had two years to go before reaching the mandatory retirement age of 70.The governor nominated Harris, a 61-year-old Morris County mayor, and Phil Kwon, a 45-year-old with a top spot in the state attorney general's office, to fill two open court slots in January. Democrats rejected Kwon in March over ongoing concerns regarding cash deposits from a liquor store owned by his wife and mother. Kwon, who was born in South Korea and came to the United States when he was 6, would have been the first member of the court to be born outside the United States and its first Asian-American member.