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Bench Memos

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On Gov. Christie’s Judicial Nominations



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In a post in January titled “Chris Christie’s David Souter and Harriet Miers?,” I objected to Gov. Christie’s nominations of Bruce A. Harris and Phillip H. Kwon to the New Jersey supreme court on the ground that they had “no public record of any commitment to judicial restraint.” As I put it, the nominations provided “ample evidence that Christie didn’t just take ‘diversity’ into account but elevated it above essential considerations of judicial philosophy.”

Last week, a Daily Caller reporter asked me by e-mail “about how Chris Christie’s judicial appointments [note the plural] in NJ could hurt him with conservatives.” In response, I provided by e-mail the statement that ended up in this weekend Daily Caller article. Unfortunately, the context in which my quoted statement is put—the lead-in points out that Harris is “openly gay” and has “compar[ed] opposition to gay marriage with segregation,” and it doesn’t mention Kwon at all—obscures my focus on concerns of judicial philosophy.

When it comes to judging, I would much rather have a gay judge who is genuinely committed to originalism and judicial restraint than a heterosexual judge who isn’t.



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