Rice surprised by Christie decision

State Sen. Ronald L. Rice (D-Newark), chair of the Legislative Black Caucus, said he is concerned about Gov. Chris Christie’s decision not to reappoint Justice John Wallace to the Supreme Court, and the governor’s replacement selection of former state Deputy Attorney General Anne Paterson of Mendham. 

“I’m surprised because Wallace would at least diversify the bench and there would at least be an African American on the bench if he were re-appointed,” Rice said. “There were some other opportunities. We’re all about diversity in New Jersey.

“I think we need women,” Rice acknowledged. “We also Latinos and African-Americans. We always have the others. We never have enough women, Latinos and African Americans.”

Supplanting the court’s lone African-American with a woman isn’t the solution, however, Rice said.

“It’s his (Christie’s) decision, of course,” said the veteran senator. “I’m sure a lot of New Jerseyans are concerned.”

In the lead-up to Christie’s announcement today that he would not reappoint Wallace, the Legislative Black Caucus sent letters of support for the justice’s reappointment.

“I’m concerned and surprised and other legislators in the Senate are surprised, but I have no control over it,” Rice said. “I can articulate my concerns, but this is the governor’s nominee.” Rice surprised by Christie decision