Gill questions Harris decision to recuse on same sex marriage cases

TRENTON – Sen. Nia Gill told Supreme Court nominee Bruce Harris she had “an issue” with his statement that he would recuse himself on same sex marriage cases because of previous advocacy in favor of the issue, yet he took a strong position on collective bargaining while serving as mayor of Chatham.

“They are both advocacy,” she said.

Harris said he makes distinctions between “personal views” and public matters that are of concern to constituents.

But Gill wasn’t swayed, and believed his line of thought was inconsistent.

“It doesn’t follow based on your intellectual logic,” she said. “The explanation has not convinced me from my original position.”

As an advocate for marriage equality, Harris threw a fundraising party at his home revolving around the issue.

But Sen. Kip Bateman said there is case law that shows he “has no choice” but to recuse himself on same sex marriage cases given his past advocacy. 

Gill and Sen. Nicholas Scutari followed up on Bateman’s questioning.

Scutari – who already has questioned Harris on his lack of experience – referenced Harris’ statement that he was not even aware of the case law Bateman brought up.

And Gill reiterated that she was disturbed by Harris recusing himself before he even gets to the bench.

Harris pointed out that when he was interviewed by the Governor or his staff, they did not bring up same-sex marriage issues.  He said he voluntarily brought them up and “the response I got was ‘you’re a smart guy,’” and they said they trusted him to treat the matter impartially. “The choice was mine on how to proceed,’’ he said.

Gill questions Harris decision to recuse on same sex marriage cases