SEASIDE HEIGHTS - Senate President Steve Sweeney is engaging in an act of "cowardice" and is "abrogating" his responsibilities by not having the Judiciary Committee hold a hearing on his two state Supreme Court nominees, Gov. Chris Christie said.
He said at a press conference here that it is disrespectful to the nominees to not hold a hearing where the members could engage in an "up or down" vote. Christie said it is time that he "needs to start doing his job" and do what the Constitution requires him to do.
"Steve Sweeney should know how this should work and this is cowardice," he said. "It is disrespectful to the role the court plays in this state and is disrespectful to the authority of the governor” to not give them a fair hearing.
Christie said he's already compromised by not nominating solely Republicans to the bench and by adding diversity, and he said that he's starting to lose his patience.
"To sit and do nothing now is just unacceptable," the governor said, adding that a hearing could take place "tomorrow" if Sweeney chose to.
Christie nominated Board of Public Utilities head Robert Hanna and Judge David Bauman, who was born in Japan, last year after two earlier nominees - an African-American, Bruce Harris, and a Korean-American, Phil Kwon - were rejected by the Democrat-controlled Judiciary Committee.
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"Enlisting Fox is another reminder of how much Christie has truly relied on insiders, including Democrats, to bolster his agenda or bail him out of trouble. Not long after arriving in Trenton in 2009, Christie began collaborating with George Norcross, the deeply entrenched Democratic Party kingmaker, to help him cut deals with a Democratic-controlled Legislature.
When his close ally David Samson resigned as chairman of the Port Authority over conflict-of-interest questions earlier this year, Christie replaced Samson with John Degnan, a pillar of the Democratic Party establishment. And now, confronted with a crisis, Christie has turned to “Jamie,’’ as Fox has been known throughout political circles since he began as an aide in the Democratic Senate in the 1980s." - columnist Charles Stile
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