State Sen. Ray Lesniak (D-Elizabeth) tangled with Gov. Chris Chrisie’s press secretary today after the veteran senator issued a release callling on fellow attorneys to reject any offers to sit on a depleted Judicial Advisory Panel, which yesterday cleared out as a protest of the governor’s decision to not reappoint Supreme Court Justice John Wallace.
Lesniak culled words out of a quote by Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak, who reacted to the resignation of the seven-member panel by thanking them for their service then noting that they would be replaced “in short order.”
“I hope not”, said Lesniak. “The arrogance of the Governor’s spokesman shows his total disregard for decent treatment of fellow human beings and Governor Christie’s total disregard for the importance of an independent judiciary.
“Any lawyer accepting this position will be saying to the entire bar, lawyers and judges, they are the enforcers of political correctness and judges better watch their step, look over their shoulders, and follow the Christie party line or watch out, because you’ll be next.”
Then Lesniak cited the Martin Niemoller quotation, about how first the Nazis came for the Socialists, then the trade unionists, Catholics, Jews, etc.
That stung the press secretary.
“I’m offended by that – the fact that he would bring up the Nazis – as a… Ukranian, I’m offended,” said Drewniak, who called the release “crazy.”
Lesniak suggested Drewniak was being a crybaby about the situation.
“Maybe, just maybe, he shouldn’t be so dismissive of those who have achieved a status he will never have a sniff at,” said the Union County power broker.