Friday, June 01, 2012

Black Gay GOP NJ High Court Nominee Rejected

Tony Kurdzuk/The Star-Ledger 
As expected, Republican Governor Chris Christie had his cynical nomination of the openly gay, African American, Republican mayor of Chatham, New Jersey Bruce Harris to the State Supreme Court rejected by a Democratic majority State Senate committee.

The New Jersey Star Ledger reports:
Dealing Gov. Chris Christie his second bitter defeat over a high-ranking judicial appointment, the Senate Judiciary Committee today rejected the nomination of Mayor Bruce Harris of Chatham Borough to the state Supreme Court.
The Democrat-controlled committee voted 7 to 6 to turn away the 61-year-old Harris, the first openly gay and third African-American to be nominated to the state's highest court. State Sen. Brian Stack (D-Hudson), an ally of the Republican governor, was the only Democrat to vote in support of the nomination.

While Democrats hammered away at Harris for his lack of courtroom experience and his stated intention to recuse himself on same-sex marriage issues, Republicans fiercely came to his aid. They said his work as a finance attorney was as complex as any cases Supreme Court justices handle, and they praised him as a man who understands the dignity and honor the position requires.
But in the end, the Republicans were not able to sway enough Democrats to vote to release the nomination of Harris, a finance attorney for 20 years, to the full Senate. There are two vacancies on the seven-member court.
It will be interesting to see if this is the last we hear from Harris, who is a rara avis of a Black, gay, Republican politician. The petulant Christie has said that he refuses to nominate a Democratic replacement for a sitting Justice who is fast approaching the mandatory retirement age of 70 until he gets two Republican additions to the court. It's not clear how the political standoff will be resolved, but I believe Democrats know that they need to stand up to a Republican governor who thinks he can bully people to get his way in a majority Democrat state.

Hat/tip to Rod 2.0

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