Bruce Harris | Chris Christie | Law - Gay, LGBT | New Jersey | News

NJ Democrats Reject Gay Black Christie Supreme Court Nominee Bruce Harris

New Jersey Democrats have rejected Chris Christie's nomination of out gay Black Supreme Court nominee Bruce Harris by a vote of 7-6 following a four hour hearing, the AP reports:

HarrisIt’s the same margin by which another Christie nominee, First Assistant Attorney General Phillip Kwon, was voted down two months ago.

The Star-Ledger says Harris' rejection was an easy one, given his lack of experience and the possibilityof bias on same-sex marriage:

It is a mystery why the New Jersey Bar Association rated Harris as qualified. The governor said he would have agreed to waive confidentiality and allow the bar to testify, but he didn’t ask for that, which suggests he had little confidence the bar could have built a strong case.

Harris’ decision to recuse himself from the gay marriage case that is headed to the Supreme Court also is troubling. His concern, he said, was that his personal endorsement of gay marriage would undermine public confidence in the court if he were to rule on the case.

But as an attorney, Thurgood Marshall argued many cases on segregation, and as a Supreme Court justice, he voted on many more.

And Harris may have had an ulterior motive — to mollify conservative Republicans who were rallying against him based on his views on gay marriage. If so, that would compromise the court’s political independence.

The political backdrop to this is crucial, as well. Democrats believe Christie aims to end the traditional partisan balance on the court, so Harris faced a steep uphill climb. The governor made it easy for them by nominating a man with such weak credentials.

Watch Christie react with anger to the rejection, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. And one other thing -- didn't Christie veto some important legislation recently? Something about marriage equality? And he's silly enough to expect cooperation now?

    Posted by: Demian | Jun 1, 2012 7:19:14 AM

  2. I don't think Mr. Harris's qualifications had anything to with this. The "qualification" for a judgeship in NJ and NY is based on political expedience or party loyalty. The resumes of many judges in those 2 states can be shocking.

    Posted by: Markt | Jun 1, 2012 7:37:56 AM

  3. I agree with the article that saying he would recuse himself from any gay rights cases would be troubling. This sets a precedent that none of us would want even it comes at the cost of a gay judge on the bench. Don't agree with me? Two words. Vaughn Walker. He didn't recuse himself and the case he presided over is one of the most important equal rights cases in the system right now.

    Posted by: DenguyFL | Jun 1, 2012 9:03:28 AM

  4. This isn't a simple judgeship. This is a seat on the state's highest court. Harris is utterly unqualified and the only reasons Christie appointed him were:

    1) so that, just days later, he could veto SSM and claim not to be anti-gay

    2) install a reliable conservative vote on the NJ Supreme Court for a few decades

    Posted by: BobN | Jun 1, 2012 9:15:21 AM

  5. @Bobn: Thanks for summarizing; I was confused what the exact issues were here in nominating and then denying Mr. Harris of the respective position.

    Posted by: Drew | Jun 1, 2012 10:55:58 AM

  6. Vaughn Walker was a Republican appointment that the likes of Nancy Pelosi rejected on the first nominations, and only in the second nomination attempt was Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats unsuccessful in blocking Walker's confirmation.

    This is all partisan play. As much as I dislike Christie, a Republican appointment will happen at some point -- and the stalling is just theater that will cost the Democrats as Christie can continue painting them as partisan.

    Posted by: Lucrece | Jun 1, 2012 11:18:01 AM

  7. Anything that makes that man squeal is alright by me.

    Posted by: Monrob | Jun 1, 2012 12:00:38 PM

  8. Harris is very liberal. The politics of the NJ supreme court are based on pissing matches between political bosses that control campaign financing around the state.

    Posted by: anon | Jun 1, 2012 12:07:56 PM

  9. I totally choke each time i read gays being rejected as "biased." How on God's green earth is a gay person presumed to be any more "biased" than a straight person. We've got to invite more ppl to listen to us. Shouting at them and calling ppl haters does not get the job done.

    Posted by: Eye For Guys | Jun 1, 2012 12:14:10 PM

  10. Well Deserved rejection.
    MR. Harris sabotaged his own job.
    If he had gotten the position then the question would be asked
    to every LGBT nominee.

    Posted by: mcNnyc | Jun 1, 2012 1:02:53 PM

  11. Christie is not stupid but he is still a Republican. The most dangerous kind.

    I'm glad the Democrats did not play into his hands.

    If you can say that you are a gay Republican, that itself disqualifies you. It's like saying that I am gay but I am with those people who hate me for being who I am and who try their best to make my life a living hell. How masochistic can one be?

    Posted by: gayalltheway | Jun 1, 2012 5:03:12 PM

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