The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 7-6 to reject Chatam Mayor Bruce Harris’s nomination as a Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court.
The votes were identical to those of Philip Kwon’s nomination to the Court earilier this year.
Posted: May 31st, 2012 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: NJ Judiciary, NJ State Legislature, NJ Supreme Court | Tags: Bruce Harris, NJ Senate Judiciary Committee, NJ Supreme Court, Phillip Kwon | Comments Off on Senate Judiciary Committee Rejects Bruce Harris’s Nomination To The NJ Supreme Court
Where would he find one?
This morning InTheLobby calls on Governor Chris Christie to call the Democrats’ bluff regarding their resistance to his plan to remake New Jersey’s Supreme Court into judicial body that interprets the law and away from the destructive unaccountable body that has been legislating a liberal agenda from the bench over the last four decades by nominating a conservative Democrat to the bench.
Last week, after a charade of a hearing for Christie’s nominee to the Court, Phillip Kwon, Senate President Sweeney admitted that what the Democrats really want is a Court packed with Democrats.
By nominating a conservative Democrat, one who doesn’t believe in legislating from the bench, Christie would be calling the Democrats bluff, says InTheLobby.
Where would anyone find a conservative Democrat in New Jersey?
What about Marlboro Mayor Jonathan Hornik?
Hornik tells every Republican he meets that he’s really a Republican. On his facebook page, Hornik apologizes for his Democratic registration. “Democrat, but the people matter the most,” is how Hornik describes his politics.
Hornik first got elected in Marlboro with the help of Republicans for Hornik. Members of the Marlboro Republican Committee remain supportive of the Mayor.
Hornik impersonated 12th district GOP congressional candidate Scott Sipprelle in 2010.
Is Hornik qualified? That would be up to Christie’s vetters and the Judiciary Committee to decide, assuming the Judiciary Committee cares about qualifications going forward. They clearly didn’t in Kwon’s case.
From a legal career and public service perspective, Hornik’s resume is not all that different from that of Bruce Harris, the Mayor of Chatham whose Supreme Court nomination is currently pending in the Senate. Both of specialize in real estate, finance and commercial transaction.
Hornick doesn’t have Harris’s academic pedigree. Harris went to Amherst, Boston University and Yale. Hornik went to University of Delaware and Brooklyn Law. University of Delaware is good. It’s better than Rowan. Governor Christie went to University of Delaware, so that might be good for Hornik. Brooklyn Law is no Yale, but Geraldo Rivera, Percy Sutton, David Dinkins, Larry Silverman, Sheldon Silver all graduated from Brooklyn.
What do you think MMM readers? Is Jon Hornik a conservative Democrat? Would he be an activist Justice or and interpretive Justice?
Posted: March 27th, 2012 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: NJ Courts, NJ Judiciary, NJ Supreme Court | Tags: Amherst, Boston University, Brooklyn Law, Bruce Harris, Governor Chris Christie, InTheLobby.net, Jon Hornik, New Jersey Supreme Court, Phillip Kwon, Scott Sipprelle, Steve Sweeney, University of Delaware, Yale | 5 Comments »
Democrats in the New Jersey State Senate are upping the ante in their unprecedented exercise of legislative power over judicial appointments.
In the wake of their rejection of Phillip Kwon’s nomination to the State Supreme Court, the Democrats are now demanding that Governor Chris Christie nominate a Democrat to the Court.
“The governor may be entitled to his own nominees for cabinet posts, but we will not allow him to pack the Supreme Court,” Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-Gloucester) said. “The governor must work with us to put together a balanced tandem of candidates for the court. The Senate will not consider anything less.”
NJ.com reports that Sweeney’s spokesman Derek Roseman said that Sweeney was telling Christie to nominate a Democrat.
During his press conference following the Senate Judiciary Committee’s rejection of Kwon, Christie revealed that he had complied with Sweeney’s demand of diversity in his appointment of Kwon, the first Korean-American ever nominated, and Bruce Harris, an Africa-American who is the first openly homosexual nominee.
Reshaping the Supreme Court into a less activist body that does not legislate from the bench was a hallmark promise of Christie’s gubernatorial campaign. During his first two years in office, Christie has been openly critical of the Court and unabashed about his commitment to change it.
Posted: March 24th, 2012 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: Chris Christie, NJ Courts, NJ Judiciary, NJ Supreme Court | Tags: Bruce Harris, Chris Christe, Derek Roseman, NJ State Supreme Court, Phillip Kwon, Senate Democrats, Steve Sweeney | 8 Comments »
The New Jersey Senate Judiciary Committee rejected Phillip Kwon’s nomination to be an Associate Justice of the State Supreme Court.
The committee voted 7-6 against Governor Christie’s nominee. Democratic Senator Brian Stack of Hudson County joined five Republicans in voting for the nomination.
Michael Aron of NJTV said that this is the first time in history that the Judiciary Committee has not approved a governor’s nomination to the Supreme Court.
At issue for the Democrats voting against the nomination was Kwon’s family finances, his political affiliation and his work in the Christie administration’s Attorney General’s office.
The nomination of Chatham Mayor Bruce Harris was not heard today.
Republican members of the committee, called the Democrats’ rejection of Kwon a politically motivated “indefensible character assassination.” In a joint statement Senators Gerald Cardinale, Kevin O’Toole, Joe Kyrillos, Christopher Bateman and Michael J. Doherty said,
Posted: March 22nd, 2012 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: Chris Christie, NJ Courts, NJ Judiciary, NJ State Legislature | Tags: Bruce Harris, Chris Christie, NJ Senate Judiciary Committee, Phillip Kwon, Senator Brian Stack | 1 Comment »
Today, Democratic Senators on the Judiciary Committee rejected an exceptionally well-qualified Supreme Court nominee for no good reason whatsoever. From the moment Mr. Kwon was nominated, the Majority engaged in a campaign of intensely personal character assassination centering around issues that were completely immaterial to his fitness to serve on the court.
The Majority’s entire line of questioning and basis for rejecting his nomination centered on events that had absolutely nothing to do with Phil Kwon.
In short, Phil Kwon was railroaded out of sheer partisan animosity toward the governor. Theirs was a rejection seeking a reason. Faced with a nominee whom there was no rational basis to reject, the Majority decided to create one based on the actions of others for which he bears no legal, ethical, or personal responsibility.
If the Majority thinks that its own political ends are what matters in this process, they are mistaken. The only thing that matters is the public’s right to Supreme Court justices that are well qualified, fair, and nominated by a Governor to whom the voters gave this awesome responsibility.
Their petty actions today are a disgrace to the legislature and the people we serve.
The New Jersey Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hold hearings on the nominations of Bruce Harris and Phillip Kwon for seats on the State Supreme Court this morning.
The hearings can be followed live on the Legislature’s website.
Posted: March 22nd, 2012 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: NJ Courts, NJ Judiciary, NJ State Legislature | Tags: Bruce Harris, NJ Supreme Court, Phillip Kwon | Comments Off on Senate Judiciary Hearings On Supreme Court Nominations
Steve Lonegan, Executive Director of the New Jersey Chapter of Americans for Prosperity and Governor Chris Christie’s opponent in the 2009 GOP gubernatorial primary, has come out in opposition to Christie’s nominees for the State Supreme Court.
Chatham Mayor Bruce Harris and First Assistant Attorney General Phillip Kwon were nominated by Christie in January. The Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled hearings on their nominations on March 22.
In a press release issue last night, Americans for Prosperity said that they expected to testify against the nominations and that it ” will be mobilizing its army of more than 60,000 citizen activists as part of its efforts to have impartial, originalist justices confirmed to the state’s highest court.”
“After careful review and consideration of these nominees, Americans for Prosperity cannot endorse their confirmation to the state’s highest court and will work to see that they are not confirmed by the state Senate,” Lonegan said.
“The governor was elected on the promise to change the makeup of the court by replacing activist justices with originalists who will interpret the law, not make law from the bench,” continued Lonegan, “and Americans for Prosperity was fully prepared to support him in achieving this goal.
“However, there is nothing in the backgrounds of either of these nominees to assure us that Mayor Harris or Mr. Kwon will practice judicial restraint and put a stop to this court’s endless usurpations of the powers of the other branches of government if seated on the Supreme Court.”
Posted: March 2nd, 2012 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: Chris Christie, NJ Supreme Court, Steve Lonegan | Tags: Americans For Prosperity, Bruce Harris, Chris Christie, New Jersey Supreme Court, Phillip Kwon, Steve Lonegan | 3 Comments »
By Senator Kevin O’Toole
The appointment of Justices to the Supreme Court of New Jersey is one of the most important duties afforded to the Governor under our Constitution. The men and women called to serve as members of our State’s highest judicial body must grapple with the most significant disputes arising from laws in a variety of areas, ranging from criminal justice to corporate governance. Rightfully, the qualifications of any attorney nominated to sit on the Supreme Court should be carefully scrutinized. In the case of Governor Christie’s two recent nominees, Bruce Harris and Phillip Kwon, that study reveals the backgrounds of extremely well qualified candidates whose experience is entirely consistent with the past and present Justices of the Supreme Court, all of whom enjoyed swift and strong Senatorial support.
Phillip Kwon has admirably dedicated nearly his entire career to various positions in public service within New Jersey. A graduate of Georgetown University and Rutgers Law School, Mr. Kwon has worked over the last decade for the State’s Attorney General and the United States Attorney’s Office as the lead trial prosecutor in matters such as narcotics trafficking, gang violence, and public corruption. He has served with distinction as a manager of dozens of federal prosecutors and thousands of state attorneys, earning the accolades of colleagues and adversaries. As both a private attorney and a judicial law clerk, he has experience in the same variety of civil matters that will occupy the Supreme Court’s docket in the years to come.
Mr. Harris has achieved the rare distinction of combining a successful career as an attorney at two of the State’s most prestigious private firms, with nearly eight years of elected public service. A magna cum lade graduate of Amherst College, Mr. Harris also holds an M.B.A, with honors, from Boston University and a law degree from Yale. In legal practice that spanned nearly two decades, Mr. Harris personally negotiated a wide array of financial transactions, in both the public and private sector, valued in excess of $8 billion. His legal advice and representation ranged from matters involving environmental projects, health care facilities, and public libraries, to assisted living homes, nonprofits, and residences for the disabled. Simultaneously, Mr. Harris volunteered his time with a host of local charities, including the Chatham Environmental Commission, the Chatham Historic Preservation Commission, and as a Trustee of the Foundation of the UMDNJ and New Jersey Health Foundation. He also combined his legal practice with nearly eight years of elected service, first as a member of the Chatham Borough Council and now as Chatham’s Mayor.
Notably, the backgrounds of both of these candidates are highly similar to the experiences and qualifications of our current and past Justices, all of whom received quick approval by the Legislature. Like Justice LaVecchia, who was confirmed within four days, Mr. Kwon is a graduate of Rutgers Law School. Mr. Harris not only has a legal degree, but also holds a Masters in Business Administration, which he obtained in 1979. Similar to Justice Rabner, who was confirmed within 17 days, Mr. Kwon clerked in the U.S. District Court, and held leadership positions in the Office of the United States Attorney. Both Justices Rabner and Patterson garnered experience at the Office of the Attorney General, as has Mr. Kwon, who has been with the Office since 2010. Three of the five current justices have extensive legal experience in private practice, as do both Mr. Harris and Mr. Kwon. Like all members of the court, Mr. Harris and Mr. Kwon have worked in prominent New Jersey law firms. Nor will Mr. Harris become the first elected Mayor and Councilman to sit on the Court, as Justice Daniel O’Hern served as both Mayor and Councilman of Red Bank before his service as a Justice.Water Sports Product
Moreover, the confirmation of both Mr. Harris and Mr. Kwon will restore much-needed political balance to the high court. By unwritten rule, Governors have maintained a political party affiliation split on the New Jersey Supreme Court, with no more than four Justices of the Governor’s party serving at the same time. Since 1947, however, the implementation of that “tradition” has produced a Republican majority a mere five times compared with nineteen Democratic majorities. Governor Christie’s appointments will honor the real intent of the compromise by creating a true party balance comprised of three registered Republicans (Hoens, Patterson, Harris), two registered Democrats (Rabner, Albin), and two unaffiliated Justices (LaVecchia, Kwon).
The Constitution does not permit indefinite, or even lengthy, vacancies on the Supreme Court. While the power of appointment and re-appointment rests solely with the Governor, the Senate holds the privilege of providing advice and consent of all persons asked to serve the people as members of the Court. The Governor’s selection of these two exceptionally qualified candidates, whose backgrounds are substantially similar to the attorneys who have served our State with distinction, will allow the Senate to move swiftly to publicly consider the temperament of these nominees in fulfillment of our Constitutional duty.
Posted: February 2nd, 2012 | Author: admin | Filed under: NJ Supreme Court | Tags: Albin, Bruce Harris, Chris Christie, Constitution, Daniel O'Hern, Hoens, Justices, Kevin O'Toole, LaVecchia, NJ Supreme Court, Patterson, Phillip Kwon, Rabner, Senate, Supreme Court of New Jersey | Comments Off on Senator O’Toole Makes Case For Christie’s Supreme Court Nominees
The press is vetting Govenor Chris Christie’s nominees to the State Supreme Court.
NJ.com, The Star Ledger’s website, posted an article this morning about the family business of nominee Phillip Kwon. Kwon’s mother owns a liquor store in Mt. Vernon, NY that made a $160,000 settlement with the New York U.S. Attorney’s office over $2,000,000 in allegedly “structured” cash bank deposits. “Structuring” is the practice of spreading out cash deposits in order to avoid the $10,000 trigger that requires the bank to report the deposit to the IRS.
There is no evidence or allegation that Kwon had anything to do with the business or the transactions. There was no admission of liablity in the settlement.
Star Ledger columnist/blogger Paul Mulshine reports that Bruce Harris, the African-American gay Mayor of Chatham that Christie nominatied to the Court along with Kwon this week, wrote an email to state senators, including Joe Pennacchio, asking that they support the same sex marriage bill that was before the Senate during the lame duck session of 2009.
Harris’s email said, in part (with emphasis added):
The New Jersey Supreme court has determined that our relationship is entitled to the equal protection guarantees of the State Constitution. The New jersey Civil Union Review Commission determined that civil unions do not provide the equality the State Constitution mandates.(Please take a few moments and visit www.gardenstateequality.org. which has two short videos that provide sad examples of the failures of the civil union law.)
Mulshine points out that there is no equal protection clause in the State Constitution. Mulshine quotes conservative Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll regarding “originalists” interpretations of the State Constitution:
“No originalist can tell me there’s an equal protection clause in the constitution. No originalist can tell me there’s a right to a thorough and efficient education or a right to affordable housing.”
As much as Christie has done, and is attempting to do, to reform New Jersey’s government, there is nothing more important he can do that make sure conservatives, “orignalists,” are seated on the Supreme Court. The State Supreme Court will be his legacy.
I hope that Christie is not using the same standard that former Governor Christine Todd Whitman used to populate the Court, i.e., appointing friends and senior staffers or making “diversity” appointments for political gain.
The activist State Supreme Court, with the consent of the Legislature and six governors/acting governors, have destroyed New Jersey’s economy over the two decades.
Governor Christie needs to make sure his nominees have the “right stuff.” Hopefully Kwon and Harris do.
Harris said we would recuse himself from cases involving gay marriage. Now that he is going to be a Justice, if confirmed, he needs to brush up on the State Constitution.
As for Kwon, the news of his mother’s business with the feds is interesting but does not qualify him.
The question the Senate Judiciary Committee, and the press, should ask, is what does qualify Kwon and Harris.
Is being the Governor’s long term trusted colleague enough? Is being Black and gay enough?
Maybe it is. But similar standards did not serve us well with Whitman’s Court.
Posted: January 29th, 2012 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: NJ Judiciary, NJ Supreme Court | Tags: Bruce Harris, Chris Christie, IRS, NJ.com, Paul Mulshine, Phillip Kwon, Star Ledger, State Supreme, structuring, U.S. Attorney's Office | 5 Comments »