Christie: All requested info on SC nominees turned over
TRENTON, N.J. (Legal Newsline) - New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Thursday he has turned over to the state Senate all requested information on his two Supreme Court nominees.
According to the Star-Ledger, Senate President Stephen Sweeney and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Nicholas Scutari, both Democrats, announced hearings would begin March 22 on Christie's high court picks.
In January, the governor nominated Chatham Mayor Bruce Harris and Assistant Attorney General Philip Kwon to the Court.
The two would fill spots vacated by Justice Virginia Long's coming mandatory retirement and Christie's decision not to renominate former Justice John Wallace.
Neither Harris or Kwon has ever worked as a judge before.
However, Sweeney and Scutari said the March hearings would be delayed if Christie did not provide all of the documents they requested, including additional financial information on the nominees.
"We've given them everything they've asked for," the governor said at a news conference in Trenton Thursday, according to the newspaper.
"There's nothing they've asked for we haven't given them."
The Senate's request for additional information stems from reports that Kwon's family's wine and liquor store was accused last year of more than $2 million in illegal bank deposits.
Kwon, himself, was never named or charged in the case.
Christie has called the nominations historic because Kwon would become the first Asian-American on the court, while Harris would be the third African-American and first openly gay member of the court.
Harris most recently worked at the law firm of Greenberg Traurig and has focused on issues of public finance and commercial lending since graduating from Yale Law School.
Kwon has also worked in the U.S. Attorney's Office and graduated from Rutgers Law School.
Christie's decision not to renominate Wallace was a controversial one, and Sweeney, also the Senate Majority Leader, refused to consider Anne Patterson, the governor's choice to replace Wallace.
However, Patterson was confirmed to take the place of the retiring Roberto Rivera-Soto, leaving Wallace's former seat still open.
Sweeney said in May that he hoped Christie would keep racial diversity in mind when making the picks. He said he will move the voting process for the nominations along quickly.
If approved by the judiciary committee, Harris and Kwon must be confirmed by the full Senate.
From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at email@example.com.