Goldstein backs away from administration

As Gov. Chris Christie scrambled to corral the votes necessary to pass his two Supreme Court nominees through the Senate Judiciary Committee tomorrow, at least one supposed ally took issue with the governor’s rhetoric.

Garden State Equality President Steven Goldstein today said a release from the governor’s office that said the gay rights activist is “proud to stand” with the governor was misleading.

Goldstein said the words during a press conference where he endorsed nominee Bruce Harris, who, like Goldstein, is openly gay.  But Goldstein said he has not and will not throw his support to Christie’s second nominee, Phil Kwon.  In his comments at the press conference, Goldstein said he understands that the Asian community feels pride in Kwon’s nomination, much as the black and gay communities feel pride in Harris’ nomination.  But, he said, his praise stopped there.

“I unequivocally support Bruce Harris’ nomination, not only because he would bring diversity to the Supreme Court, but because he has impeccable credentials,” Goldstein said. “With Bruce Harris, there is no question of residency, no question of political affiliation and no question of finance problems.”

The comment was a not-so-veiled swipe at Kwon, who has faced questions about all three issues since his nomination was made public.

Goldstein urged legislators to consider the two men’s nominations separately as they present far different issues and pressed the governor’s office to take a step back in its rhetoric.

“I’ve endorsed Bruce Harris, why go overboard with this,” he said. “It’s way too far of a reach.”

The administration has scrambled all week to convince legislators that both men are qualified for the bench and that any issues that have so far arisen are minor.  Wednesday, the Star Ledger reported that Kwon is one vote shy of the seven needed to escape the committee.

Several sources have confirmed the report to PolitickerNJ adding that short of a deal cut with either Senate President Steve Sweeney or a committee Democrat willing to offer an aye vote in exchange for something down the line, Kwon’s confirmation is unlikely.

Goldstein backs away from administration