As far as Senate President Steve Sweeney is concerned, Gov. Chris Christie’s latest pick for a vacant spot on the state Supreme Court is a nonstarter.Christie held a news conference Monday to announce he plans on re-nominating David Bauman, a Superior Court judge in the Monmouth Vicinage, for a position on the state’s highest court. Bauman, 59, had previously been selected by Christie for the role in 2012, but the state Senate declined to act on the Republican judge’s nomination.
Sweeney (D-West Deptford) said Bauman’s nomination would give the court four Republican justices and “would contradict the intent of the framers of the Constitution by leaving only two Democrats on the seven-member court.”
“This nominee will not have a hearing and the only way I will consider a Christie nominee is if the governor preserves judicial independence by submitting a Democrat for the Court,” Sweeney said Tuesday in a statement. “For the past six years, I fought to protect the long-standing tradition of keeping political balance on New Jersey’s Supreme Court and I will continue that fight.”
During his tenure as governor, Christie has seen three Republican judges have their Supreme Court nominations confirmed by the Senate. His most recent successful nomination, Justice Faustino Fernandez-Vina, was sworn in to the court in 2013.
On Monday, Christie said that if Senate Democrats were to block Bauman’s nomination, it would be because of partisan politics at play.
But Sweeney says it’s the governor, fresh off his presidential endorsement last week of controversial businessman Donald Trump, who is guilty of trying to score political points.
“As Senate President, I don’t get to select the governor I am going to work with, but I do get to choose who and what I fight for, and that includes the needs and priorities of New Jersey’s low-income and middle-class families,” Sweeney said. “In contrast, Gov. Christie has chosen to focus on his personal ambitions by engaging in political games in a misguided attempt to build up his new allegiance with Donald Trump. He’s treating his responsibilities as governor as a continued job interview with the Republican Party in Washington.”