Governor Chris Christie is nominating two people without judicial backgrounds to be on the New Jersey Supreme Court.
Bruce Harris, an African-American attorney, would become New Jersey’s first openly gay Supreme Court Justice. Assistant state Attorney General Phil Kwon, a Korean immigrant, would be the first Asian-American on the court.
Governor Christie says the nominations are historic and will bring different perspectives to the court.
“It also allows both of these men to serve as role models for young men and women throughout this state who will be convinced by there mere presence on this court that anything is possible for any of them who have dreams for public service in this state,” said Christie.
Christie said diversity was not his chief reason for nominating the two.
“My primary concern was to get two outstanding justices who would move the court in a positive direction for the future of our state and it citizens, but having that kind of diversity representing it well was a secondary factor and one that I’m glad we were able to find,” said Christie.
If confirmed, the nominees will replace former Justice John Wallace who Christie refused to reappoint in 2010 and Virginia Long who reaches mandatory retirement age in March.
Senate President Steve Sweeney had this response to the nominations.
“As with all nominees, the process must still run its course. While we undergo that process, it is vital that we ensure the Court remain as philosophically independent as possible,” said Sweeney. “I look forward to a full and proper vetting of these nominees and to learning of how they view their role on the Court.”