Gov. Chris Christie will soon announce this year’s third state Supreme Court nominee, and we should all hope this nominee is treated much better by Democrats running the show than were the last two nominees Phil Kwon and Bruce Harris.
Nominations to the state’s highest court used to be a prime example of government working properly.
The majority party has petulantly played politics with constitutionally required judicial nominees by taking a childish approach — rejecting nominations simply as political revenge against Gov. Christie, in part, for the chief executive having not renominated one of their favorite justices.
In so doing, Trenton Democrats have enabled a judiciary that inappropriately swelled public spending, and in turn taxes, via activist decisions on key issues including education and affordable housing.
The majority party is misguided in claiming Republicans and the governor are politicizing the judicial system, citing Governor Christie’s choice to not re-nominate Justice John Wallace two years ago as evidence. That argument is bogus: there is no legal requirement that he renominate.
New Jersey’s governor is to nominate people he believes will serve well. The Senate is to offer “advice and consent” on whether or not those nominees are qualified, both personally and professionally.
It is Trenton Democrats politicizing the judicial system. In terms of Kwon and Harris, they have forsaken the integrity of the nomination process and, in turn, denigrated the prestige of the judiciary committee.
The majority party has exercised political gamesmanship instead of their elected responsibilities by refusing to hold committee hearings for 10 nominees for judgeships, including seven for Superior Court. They have fostered a judicial crisis in Essex County, where couples for several months weren’t able to exercise their right to get divorced because nominations to the bench there have been thrown into chaos.
After calling for diversity on the High Court, they rejected an immensely qualified Korean-American prosecutor and a distinguished gay, black attorney. Leaving to doubt whether there is any room for professionalism in the nomination process, they prefaced these politically motivated rejections by releasing to reporters confidential information on Supreme Court nominees, which did not pertain to judicial fitness.
Rejections of a governor’s Supreme Court nominee, to this point, have been unprecedented.
Trenton Democrats don’t want to be democratic when it is not in their political interest.
Democrats have controlled the New Jersey’s Supreme Court in 50 of the last 64 years. Yet they have gone to every extent so far during this administration to deny Gov. Christie the ability to do what the people of New Jersey elected him to do after he campaigned to reform the High Court.
The majority party’s immature and irresponsible politicizing of the courts needs to stop. Let’s hope for all of our sakes that this third time is a charm.
Senator Gerald Cardinale is a Republican member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, representing Bergen and Passaic counties in New Jersey’s 39th District.