The Latino Action Network today announced its opposition to Governor Chris Christie's plan to leave the Supreme Court without either an African-American or Latino member for the first time since 1994, and asked the State Senate to reject the nominations.
“New Jersey’s Supreme Court should represent everyone. One third of New Jersey residents are Latinos or African-Americans,” said Frank Argote-Freyre, President of the Latino Action Network. “Yet Governor Christie's nominations would reduce the diversity of the New Jersey Supreme Court for the next decade or more - during which time New Jersey will become a majority-minority state.”
According to the 2010 Census, New Jersey has the twelfth-highest percentage of people of color of any state, with Latinos, African-Americans, and Asian-Americans making up 40.7 percent of the state's population. Latinos are the largest minority group in New Jersey and accounted for the vast majority of population growth in New Jersey over the last decade.
"With this move, New Jersey would go backwards, not forwards in judicial diversity," Argote-Freyre said. "We urge the Senate to reject these nominations and instead work with Governor Christie to ensure that any one of a number of well qualified Latinos have a place on the Court. Five nominations without one Latino is enough."
The Latino Action Network was part of an alliance of Latino and African-American groups that asked Governor Christie and Senate leadership to respect basic principles for the Supreme Court (included in full below). In addition to diversity, our groups asked for partisan balance: at least three justices representing each political party, as has been the case for the entire history of the Supreme Court. Unfortunately, Gov. Christie's nominations repeat the nominations in the spring where nominations are used to try to gain an unfair partisan advantage, Argote-Freyre said.
"If there is any message that came out of the recent Presidential election, it is that diversity matters in America," Argote-Freyre added. "Now is not the time to turn back the clock in New Jersey."
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"During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die."- Nelson Mandela
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