TRENTON – Four of the five Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee responded to the 7-6 rejection of Bruce Harris for New Jersey Supreme Court in a joint statement released just moments after the vote.
Sens. Gerald Cardinale (R-39), Demarest, Kevin O’Toole (R-40), Christopher “Kip” Bateman (R-16), Cedar Grove, and Jennifer Beck (R-12), Monmouth, issued the following statement:
“Once again, the committee’s majority has applied unsound arguments and unreasonable standards to the confirmation process to mask partisan, ideological motives for rejecting a well-qualified nominee.
Bruce Harris, like Phil Kwon before him, deserved better than to be pre-judged by members of the committee and suffer a fate that had nothing to do with his fitness for the job and everything to do with politics and personal agendas.
It is unfortunate that the people of New Jersey will be denied the sharp legal mind, personal integrity, and diversity of both life and professional experience that Bruce would have brought to the bench. Just as unfortunate is the fact that the Senate Judiciary Committee has so little regard for the public’s interests and a properly functioning Supreme Court.”
Missing from the press release was fellow Senate Judiciary Committee member Sen. Joe Kyrillos (R-13), Middleton, who is running for U.S. Senate against Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ). Kyrillos released his own statement shortly after his Republican colleagues announced their response.
“Confirming and granting tenure to candidates for our state’s highest court is a responsibility I do not take lightly,” Kyrillos said. “In the past, it has led me to vote against nominees who I believe did not understand their constitutional role as a justice or were not qualified for the job. I stand by my vote in favor of Bruce Harris today, just as I stand by my votes against Justices Albin (2009), Poritz (2003), Long (2006), and as the only vote “no” in a 36-1 vote on Justice LaVecchia in 2006. In both my private meeting with Mr. Harris as well as before the committee today, he proved himself to be someone who would interpret the laws as they are written rather than legislate from the bench and respect the limited role of the Judiciary in New Jersey.”