TRENTON – Gov. Chris Christie today said he has been assured that the nominations of his two Supreme Court nominees will be heard in March and that their confirmations will be fully resolved by the end of that month.
“I’ve had the assurance of the Senate president since last May and he has assured me again and again we will have hearings during the month of March and a resolution of their confirmation during the month of March,” Christie said. “And so he has done nothing to back off of that in the conversations he has had with me.”
Christie said nominees Phil Kwon and Bruce Harris have been making the rounds among legislators and have so far received favorable reports.
The governor took some not-so-veiled digs at Senate Democrats, who he said have dragged their feet on setting hearing dates for the two men.
“The normal process is going forward. It’s slower than the historic norm…but everything it seems with my judicial nominations from Superior Court through the Supreme Court because of this Democratic Senate is slower than the historic norm.”
Christie likened Kwon’s resume to that of Chief Justice Stuart Rabner and pointed out that Rabner was confirmed in 17 days.
Both men, Christie said, clerked for federal judges, both worked in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in leadership positions and both served in the Attorney General’s office – Rabner as Attorney General and Kwon as first assistant Attorney General.
“Phil actually has private practice experience in New Jersey on his record, which the chief justice does not have,” Christie said. “So you are talking about essentially equivalent candidates. Stuart Rabner was nominated, got a hearing and was confirmed within 17 days.”
Sen. Gerry Cardinale, (D-39), Demarest, one of seven senators who could hold up the nominations with senatorial courtesy, has yet to sign off on the nominations, but Christie said he does not anticipate any problems.
“Sen. Cardinale has been here a long time and he keeps his powder dry for as long as he possibly can, that’s kind of Gerry’s way,” Christie said. “We understand – we have gotten used to Gerry over the course of time on this stuff. I know that he has complete confidence in me and my ability to make these decisions – he has told me that in the past – and I don’t think there will be any reason why Sen. Cardinale wouldn’t sign off.”