Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christie makes two Supreme Court nominations

After failing on a couple state Supreme Court nominees earlier this year, Chris Christie huddled with the New Jersey state Senate's leading Democratic lawmaker to ensure a better chance his nominees get confirmed.

The results:

One nominee, Robert M. Hanna, is the commissioner of the state’s Bureau of Public Utilities. Mr. Hanna was a colleague of Mr. Christie’s from his tenure as United States attorney, but the governor emphasized Mr. Hanna’s independence, saying that he had never been registered with a political party. “There was no one who relished disagreeing with me more than Bob Hanna,” Mr. Christie said.

The other nominee, David Bauman, moved to this country from his native Japan as a young child, and was the first Asian-American judge appointed to the Superior Court of Monmouth County, where he has been presiding judge of the civil division since 2009. He is a Republican but was nominated to his current position by Gov. Jon S. Corzine, the Democrat who preceded Mr. Christie.

As I said, Democrats swatted down Christie's earlier nominees, but the process exposed a fundamental incongruity in how Republicans and Democrats are sometimes treated in racial politics.

One of Christie's former nominees, Bruce Harris, was gay and black.

The other nominee, Phil Kwon, would have been the first Asian-American on the state's high court.

Democrats argued that one was unqualified; the other too political, so they swatted them down.

Now -- imagine if roles had been reversed with a Republican legislature swatting down a Democratic governor's nomination of a black, gay judge and an historic first for an Asian-American judge... wouldn't the GOP legislature immediately be accused of being homophobic and playing race in denying the nominations?