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Christie Praised Over New Jersey Supreme Court Nominee

May 6, 2010

Chris Christie Credit Ed Murray/The Star-Ledger

There is no shortage of comment on many of  Chris Christie’s bold and courageous acts.  Since he has taken office he has been a model leader and kept his promises to the people.  Most recently, Christie decided not to re-nominate Associate Justice John Wallace, Jr. and instead nominated Anne Patterson.  Our Governor promised to reshape the Supreme court and he is keeping his promise.  Christie is now receiving significant praise for his decision.  Below are just a few of the news accounts.

In court of public opinion, Sweeney did Christie a favor

By Paul Mulshine, The Star Ledger, Thursday, May 6, 2010

Chris Christie’s critics are accusing the governor of pandering to “right-wing pundits” by failing to reappoint John Wallace to the state Supreme Court.

Not true. We right-wingers have been calling on the governor not to merely rearrange the deck chairs on that sinking ship, but to fire a few torpedoes through the hull, if I may mix my maritime metaphors.

As for the governor, every indication is that he thought he was playing by the rules when he took advantage of that clause in the state Constitution that grants the chief executive the power to pick judges. So why the whining?

Chief Justice Stuart Rabner reacted to the move by putting out an unprecedented statement condemning the decision. Assemblyman Mike Carroll of Morris County says that even the most liberal of the prior chief justices never tried such a trick.

“Even Robert Wilentz wouldn’t have done that sort of thing,” said Carroll, who is the type of guy a real right-winger would have named to the court. “Wilentz was reluctant even to talk about pay raises. Sending out something that amounts to a press release is beyond the pale.”

It’s also below the radar for most people. What Steve Sweeney did was different.

Bright hopes for Christie’s court pick

By George Berkin, NJ Voices, Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Because Gov. Chris Christie has been so pro-active about the need to cudgel New Jersey’s finances into shape, his choice of a conservative Republican for a seat on the Supreme Court makes good fiscal sense.

But might I suggest that choosing Anne Patterson may turn out beneficial for reasons equally as important as finances. It is just possible that she – or three additional justices Christie is scheduled to name during his tenure – might help bring the high court back to sanity on social issues.

Specifically, perhaps the new justice will help the court turn back from its dangerous flirtation with gay marriage, and its fascination with unrestricted abortion rights.

The bold stroke by which Christie threw Patterson’s name into consideration gives room for hope. Throwing tradition to the wind, Christie declined to extend the judicial term of John Wallace, a (need we say, liberal) Democrat who was sure to use his seat on the court to overturn Christie’s bold economic policies.

Gov. Christie staying true to his word

Asbury Park Press, Wednesday, May 5, 2010

During his campaign, Gov. Chris Christie said the state Supreme Court overstepped its bounds repeatedly and should return to what a supreme court is supposed to do — interpret the state constitution and the law. Following through on promises to change that, he becomes the first Jersey governor not to re-nominate a justice for the high court.

Give Christie credit for keeping his word, even though the status quo types are unhappy to the max. That includes state lawmakers who like having an activist court so they can avoid making unpopular decisions and those who play to their audience when attacking Christie.

Highly respected outgoing Associate Justice John Wallace Jr., 68, is, ironically, one of the more experienced people on the court. He also is the only black member, a factor Christie said he took into consideration. In 22 months he reaches the mandatory retirement age.

“I have great both personal and professional respect for Justice Wallace,” Christie said. “I just believe that if you look at his overall body of work, that it represents a different philosophy — that philosophy being that it’s OK to legislate from the bench. I don’t believe it is.”

Christie nominated Anne Patterson, 51, to replace Wallace. Patterson is in private practice in Morristown.

Wallace earned respect, he never embarrassed his state or the court — unlike Associate Justice Roberto Rivera-Soto, a Jim McGreevey nominee who worked two years as an assistant U.S. Attorney but spent most of his career in the employ of casinos.

A conservative Supreme Court? In New Jersey? It could happen.

By David Freddoso, Washington Examiner, Tuesday, May 4, 2010

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie continues to paint in bold colors as he rights his state’s woeful budget picture and fights the public sector unions.

Now he has decided not to re-appoint a state Supreme Court justice to a lifetime term at the end of his initial seven-year term.

Believe it or not, this has never been done before.

The justice, John E. Wallace Jr., became the first one to seek reappointment and be refused by a New Jersey governor since the current State Constitution was adopted 63 years ago…Mr. Christie had only kind words for Justice Wallace, but he described the historically liberal court as “out of control” over the last three decades, usurping the roles of the governor and the Legislature in setting social and tax policies…

The State Senate president, Stephen M. Sweeney, a Democrat from Gloucester County, accused the governor of deciding “that rank politics and ideology trump practical experience,” but he did not say whether he would try to block the [new] appointment.

Best of all:

Mr. Christie will have a chance to reshape the court. In his four-year term, five of its seven members (including Justice Wallace) will reach either mandatory retirement or the end of their initial seven-year appointments.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. DIANA ROOD permalink
    May 6, 2010 12:48 pm

    Just to let you know, their about 10 of us who discuss politics often, and we are thrilled about all of your choices and changes. Diana & Charles Rood.
    George and Ave Trams. Bob and Jane Beach; and the list goes on.

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