Senate GOP: ‘Only God knows’ if Harris will be released from committee
By Matthew Arco | May 22nd, 2012 - 2:34pm
| More

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.

Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: September 2nd

Campaign season now under way in Bergen County Politics is practiced year-round in Bergen County, and street-level campaigning has been going on quietly all summer. But both Republicans and Democrats say the Rutherford Street Fair on Labor Day signals a more intense phase of electioneering. (Ensslin/The Bergen Record) http://www.northjersey.com/news/campaign-season-now-under-way-in-bergen-county-1.1079080  ...

Op-Ed

White House’s Tuition Challenge Being Met in NJ

By MICHAEL W. KLEIN In his weekly radio address on August 16, President Obama challenged colleges “to do their part to bring down costs” and lighten the tuition burden on students.  The state colleges and universities in New Jersey have... Read More >

Contributors

My Republican Hillary Clinton Experience    There is a veritable plethora of reportage in print, internet, television and radio media speculating as to whether Hillary Clinton will seek the Democratic... more »
(8-27-14) All Americans Should Support Gov. Perry - Political prosecutions have no place in American life. Those who use the justice system as they are using it in Texas... more »
(Asbury Park, NJ) -- There's a word for someone who says one thing and does another: hypocrite.  There's no shortage of 'em in Trenton -- from ... more »
 The following letter was sent today to Republican state legislators, county chairs, state committee members, and New Hampshire... more »

Quote of the Day

quote of the day

"Governor Christie ripped President Obama this summer for failing to carve out some time during a Texas fundraising swing to visit the Mexican border, where the unprecedented flood of immigrant children from Central America had reached a crisis point. ...Yet Christie is not squeezing in a tour of the troubled border during his own three-day trade and diplomatic mission to Mexico, which is set to begin on Wednesday. The governor is planning a series of meetings with Mexican officials, including President Enrique Peña Nieto and the finance and energy ministers." - columnist Charles Stile

- The Bergen Record

Poll

Governor Chris Christie's trip to Mexico...:

Blogroll

Visit the PolitickerNJ.com/resources page for links to the best collection of information on New Jersey state government.

 

  • Polls
  • The best blogs
  • Columnists
  • State election results
  • Assembly election results
  • Local party websites
  • And more.

PolitickerNJ.com/resources