Christie: Replacement for Kwon still in the works

Gov. Chris Christie said today he’s unsure when he’ll be ready to announce a Supreme Court nominee to replace Phil Kwon, adding that his staff is working to vet potential nominees.

Christie said he expects his second nominee, Chatham Mayor Bruce Harris, to be heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee later this month or in early May, but may not be ready to announce his second candidate by then.

“My staff is in the process of now vetting a whole group of additional candidates for the second seat,” Christie said. “Whether or not we’ll be ready to announce a nomination prior to when Bruce Harris has his hearing I don’t know.  I’m certainly not going to rush it…to get a nominee forward so we can have them both at the same time.  If it turns out we need more time to select another nominee then I’ll take as much time as I need to carefully select another nominee. I’m certainly not going to rush it.”

In a move that set off a spate of partisan bickering, Kwon was shot down by the committee last month.  As reasons for blocking Kwon, a deputy attorney general and a former assistant U.S. Attorney, Democrats on the committee said they did not believe claims that the nominee is an independent.

A former registered Republican, Kwon would upset the traditional balance on the court, Democrats charged.  Democrats also were concerned about a legal issue that entangled Kwon‘s mother and wife.

Christie had touted Kwon and Harris as meeting Democrats’ requirements for court diversity but was mum today on whether he felt an obligation to find another minority to replace Kwon. Christie: Replacement for Kwon still in the works