No, Chris Christie’s Judicial Nominees Were Not Conservative

by Carrie Severino

As frequent Bench Memos readers will know, I’ve long been following Governor Christie’s judicial misadventures.  I and my colleagues at JCN were encouraged by his campaign pledges to remake the New Jersey judiciary and nominate judges who would “interpret laws and the Constitution, not legislate from the bench.” But his subsequent failure to make good on these promises has been at best profoundly incompetent and at worst a dishonest sellout of the judiciary to advance his personal political goals.  That’s why we launched www.christiebadonjudges.com and have been highlighting his judicial record in TV, radio, and digital ads.

The campaign has garnered significant press attention, interfering with Christie’s post-scandal comeback campaign. So Christie has finally responded, calling JCN “cowards” and accusing us of not supporting his conservative nominees.

Governor Christie is indeed back. Back to his old form of name-calling and bullying when cornered.

In this case we can add un-informed bullying.

JCN actually gave qualified support to his first nominee Anne Patterson based primarily on assurances about her judicial philosophy from the governor’s office. We haven’t made that mistake again. That is not cowardice, that is conscience.

So, yes, we haven’t supported the cronies and hacks he has put forth as judicial conservatives — and which he still claims were conservative nominees.

We urge the governor to criss-cross the country defending his “conservative” nominee Bruce Harris who had to admit he had hardly ever stepped into a courtroom, but whose shrewd legal mind had concluded opposition to same-sex marriage was equivalent to slavery and segregation.

Governor Christie’s support of Sonia Sotomayor — and his dismissive attitude toward those who opposed her — should be sufficient evidence of where his constitutional compass points.

Or perhaps that’s just a weathervane.