TRENTON – The Legislative Black Caucus expressed its dissatisfaction with Gov. Chris Christie’s most recent nominees to the state’s high court.
Sen. Ronald Rice, (D-28), issued a statement on behalf of the caucus criticizing the governor for not nominating an African American or Latino justice. Rice said the caucus is opposed to the nominations.
“It is unacceptable for the New Jersey Supreme Court, for a decade to come, to exclude one-third of New Jersey's population by having no African-American and Latino members,” he said. “Our call remains the same as it has been throughout this process: qualified, diverse, and independent justices: a standard that every governor, Republican and Democrat, has met for decades.”
Christie most recently nominated David Bauman and Robert Hanna to the New Jersey Supreme Court. The nominations come after Senate lawmakers rejected his first set of nominees, Bruce Harris and Phil Kwon.
“We need justices who represent all of New Jersey - not just a certain ideology, race, or political party,” Rice said. “We are opposed to these most recent nominees because they do not represent the diversity gains made to the State Supreme Court in the past to reflect African-American and Latino participation.”
Harris, who is black, would have been the first openly gay justice to serve on the court.
Bauman and Hanna are awaiting hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
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"Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, a Hudson County Democrat, is balking. He claimed Tuesday that members of his caucus are divided over the measure and that his house is in no real rush – besides, even if enacted this year, the reforms would not take effect until 2017, he said. And with the growing belief that Christie could skip town to run for president, some Democrats are not eager to give him another talking point for his résumé. Christie’s plans to stump for Republican candidates in New Hampshire later Thursday only fuel that suspicion." - columnist Charles Stile- The Bergen Record
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