Christie Announces 2 New Jersey Supreme Court Nominees
TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — He is the son of a Japanese mother and an American father of German and Irish heritage who was serving in the U.S. Navy.
The other nominee is Robert Hanna, 54, of Madison, who is president of the state Board of Public Utilities, a quasi-judicial agency that oversees regulated utilities in New Jersey, and a member of Christie’s cabinet.
Christie said the nominations of Bauman, a Republican, and Hanna, who is unaffiliated with either party though he serves in Christie’s administration, represents “a compromise” on Christie’s part and a bow to Democrats’ concerns about maintaining partisan balance on the court.
The court currently consists of two Republicans, two Democrats and one independent, the governor says. Democrats maintain the current balance is three Republicans and two Democrats.
In typically blustery style, Christie called on Democrats to afford his nominees “a swift confirmation process and an up or down vote.”
Senate President Stephen Sweeney, whom Christie said he has talked to about the nominees, said little after the two names were announced.
“The governor has made his nominations, as is his right,” Sweeney said in a statement. “At this point in time, however, it would be inappropriate for me to comment further.”
Sweeney, a Democrat, has not promised to hold hearings for either nominee. The Senate has confirmed both nominees previously for their current jobs.
Sen. Nick Scutari, another Democrat who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, did not return a call for comment.
The Republican governor and Democrat-led Senate have clashed over prior judicial nominees.
The Democrat-controlled Judiciary Committee voted down Christie’s prior choices for the court and the panel stalled his first nominee for a year before giving her a hearing. That was after the governor angered Democrats early on by failing to give tenure to a moderate justice who was the court’s only black member.
Christie said he made his decision on his most recent nominees 10 days ago and notified the two on Friday.
He said he met Bauman in the late summer when he was interviewing for court openings. The governor has worked closely with Hanna, who also spent 16 years in the U.S. attorney’s office in New Jersey, which Christie headed before becoming governor.
“Not only would Bob and David make outstanding justices, but their nominations also expand the diversity of background, strong experience and qualifications of the Court membership _ a point made most clear by each man’s previous, unanimous endorsement by the New Jersey Senate,” the governor said in a written statement. “Bob and David already have extensive records of public service and accomplishment, and New Jersey is fortunate to have such remarkable individuals continue their service on our state’s highest court.”
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