Christie Nominates First Asian-American, Openly Gay Man To NJ Supreme Court

TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie proposed two historic firsts for the state Supreme Court by nominating an openly gay black man and a Korean-born law enforcement official to the bench on Monday.

The Republican governor announced the nominations of Bruce A. Harris and Phillip H. Kwon at a Statehouse news conference attended by the nominees and their families.

“This is a monumental day for justice and the most important thing here is that Bruce Harris is eminently qualified to be a Supreme Court Justice,” Garden State Equality chairman Steven Goldstein told 1010 WINS. “Yes, he’s gay, he’s partnered…but he’s qualified.”

Harris is the mayor of Chatham in Morris County. He would be the third African-American to be seated on the court — and the first openly gay member.

Six openly gay justices sit on state Supreme Courts nationwide.

“I am so deeply humbled by this major piece of civil rights news by Gov. Christie,” Goldstein said. “It’s a great thing, and the governor deserves our warmth, our credit, I’m blown away.”

Goldstein admits he was very surprised by the announcement but says the Christie administration has always treated gay community leaders with “warmth and responsiveness.”

Kwon, a Korean-American, works in the Attorney General’s office and lives in Bergen County. He would be the first Asian-American on the high court.

Christie has two vacancies to fill on the court as of March 1.

The current court, made up of five women and two men, all of whom are white.

Christie created a firestorm when he decided not to renominate the court’s only black member, Justice John Wallace, in 2010.

The nominations need confirmation from the Democrat-controlled Senate.

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • Angelica

    I don’t understand how anyone who is Gay would, by there own choice, be a Repuglican. A party that hates them so much…it must be akin to self-loathing.

  • Peter

    Perhaps this is a piece of master strategy by the Governor.He nominates.It is up to the legislature to confirm or deny.Now the ball is in the liberal Democrats hands.Do they agree with Christie or do they attempt to block the nominations of qualified people solely on the basis that they are not liberal Democrats?It is good to see some life in the State and not same old rubber stamping,one party control.

  • royallen

    this low life Governor couldn’t me more transparent.He thinks that his pandering to the minority and asian voters is going to get him reelected. I hope he’s wrong…………………….. then again in Bergen County,they just appointed aKorean Judge to the bench,so the Gov. is not the only one pandering to the Asian population…….

    • royallen

      what I’m saying KP, is there are many more qualified or overqualified people,who would make better Jurists ,but they don’t stand a chance because they don’t fit the minority quota…

    • KPMc

      So… you’re saying the man is not qualified? because if not how the hell is it pandering to elevate someone who has earned it?

  • Scott

    This will go a long way to securing the Asian – Gay vote when and if the time comes. Now in the future, if you could hire the best person for the job, that would be the American, not to mention – fair – thingt odo !

  • Eeeb Yaab

    Christie reportedly stated that nominating Phil Kwon was a ‘no-brainier’ as he’s a great fry chef. He went on to say that he wasn’t as sure when it came to Bruce Harris but after he got to know him all he could say was once you go black … you never come back …

  • royallen

    hey I know a handicappedd bi racial,transexual, lawyer who needs a job,sounds like a Supreme Court nominee to me !

  • jerseyjoey

    “I am so deeply humbled by this major piece of civil rights news by Gov. Christie,” Goldstein said. “It’s a great thing, and the governor deserves our warmth, our credit, I’m blown away.” That aint all Christie and Goldstein are Blowing.

  • Only one

    What does this man eat?

    I am sure he has access to a gym.

  • royallen

    I guess the Gov has now filled all the minority quota jobs,what’s a left ,a gay,a few females. He’s the consumate Politician,fires one black judge,hires another….. So lets see, women, black,hispanic,gay,an asian,what’s left? This should be some Supreme Court,can’t wait to see their decisions,or lack there off.

  • The Seeker

    Will someone tell me why a person’s life style comes into play when they get a political appointment.. Be objective please, no personal opinions. How about their height, weight and whether or not they have flat feet. Remember life before the internet? Anyone !

    • tara

      Bravo, well said. By reading some of the other comments posted by the brain dead society, it is refreshing to see one that actually feels like i do.

  • Esmerelda

    Christie is bad news.

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