TRENTON – Before the Senate Judiciary Committee recently rejected one of Gov. Chris Christie’s nominations to the state Supreme Court, lawmakers spent several hours questioning lawyer Phil Kwon before the Democratic-controlled committee voted to block the appointment.
Now, the same committee is preparing to interview the governor’s other nominee to the state’s high court, and the committee’s chairman, Sen. Nicholas Scutari, (D-22), Linden, has indicated this hearing may not last as long as the first, which took up a good portion of the day.
“I don’t think it’s going to be an extraordinarily long hearing because there’s just not a lot of experience to question him on,” Scutari said Monday, referring to the upcoming hearing for nominee Bruce Harris.
That statement cuts to the heart of the Harris nomination: He lacks courtroom experience, say his critics.
The chairman spoke briefly about Harris’ confirmation hearing after the committee breezed through 17 Superior Court judicial reappointments on Monday.
And one of his colleagues echoed those concerns.
“This is the Supreme Court that we’re talking about,” said Sen. Loretta Weinberg, (D-37), Teaneck, who also serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“It’s got that word 'supreme' in it to indicate something,” she said. “I’d suspect that we would want people with the highest caliber with the most appropriate experience to sit on the Supreme Court.”
Harris, who graduated from Yale Law School and holds an MBA from Boston University, has never served as a judge or tried cases in the courtroom.
Although Democratic lawmakers made it clear Harris’ lack of experience will be a major theme during his confirmation hearing, they would not go so far as to say outright that it will be enough to quash his nomination.
And on that, Republicans say the governor’s nominee is absolutely the right choice.
“He is amazingly qualified,” said Sen. Kevin O’Toole, (R-40), Cedar Grove, adding it’s “not an ordinary feat” for just anyone to have Harris’ level of graduate and postgraduate studies, in addition to working at prestigious law firms.
O’Toole posed the question of whether “an individual who’s an ambulance chaser” and has been in the courtroom thousands of times would be better suited for the position.
“Does that make him or her qualified?” O’Toole asked. “The answer is no.”
As for whether Harris will be released from committee, Republicans say they’re as unsure as the next person.
“Will they release him from committee? Only God knows,” said Sen. Gerald Cardinale, (R-39), Demarest.
“They crucified Kwon,” he said. “God only knows what they’re going to do.”
The committee voted 7-6 to reject Kwon’s nomination, with all five of the panel’s Republicans and one Democrat – Brian Stack, (D-33), Union City – voting in favor.
When Assemblyman Jason O'Donnell (D-31) tried to run across no man's land as the new chair of the Democratic State Committee, he figured he'd have at least his home county of Hudson behind him.Read More >
Fulop endorses Smith in Bayonne mayoral raceBAYONNE - Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop parachuted into the Bayonne mayoral race on Thursday night by endorsing incumbent Mayor Mark Smith."It is a pleasure to be with you here, Mark," said Fulop to a crowd of more than 125 supporters at a...
By JON BRAMNICK Voices around the country agree with our concern that "bipartisan committee led by John Wisniewski is partisan." Below are observers who agree Wisneiwski's committee is not bipartisan: Chuck Todd, NBC News: "Democrats made a mistake... Read More >
"This is my first Mark Smith event. There have been a lot of changes in Hudson County over the last year and a half, and the most important change that has happened is that there really is unity. For the first time, we really are working together. Despite political differences. Mark and I have worked very hard to repair that. I'm really happy to be here in support of him, because I recognize that when you work together, politics becomes secondary and you really have time to focus on government, which is the most important thing." - Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop- PolitickerNJ.com
Press releases are submitted by PolitickerNJ users, not by staff. They do not represent the viewpoint of PolitickerNJ.com.