Report: Christie not nominating state court judge to N.J. SC
TRENTON, N.J. (Legal Newsline) - New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Thursday shot down reports that he plans to nominate a Republican superior court judge to the state's high court.
Earlier this week, sources told The Star-Ledger that Christie -- who has been highly critical of the Court -- planned to submit Lee Solomon's name.
The governor had told an Atlantic City radio station earlier this month that he was close to a decision on a nominee.
At a news conference at a Trenton-area rescue mission Thursday, Christie said he hasn't made an offer to anyone.
"We are still going through a vigorous vetting process of a number of candidates and this is what unfortunately happens when people who gain a little bit of knowledge decide that they want to leak something out and jump to conclusions and it was irresponsible reporting on top of it," the governor said, according to a new Star-Ledger report.
Solomon, a Haddonfield resident, served as a superior court judge in Camden County from 2006 to 2010.
Christie then named him head of the state Board of Public Utilities.
In December, Christie reappointed Solomon to the superior court in Camden County, this time to serve in the court's civil division.
He previously served as the Deputy U.S. Attorney for the Southern Vicinages, District of New Jersey.
Prior to his tenure at the U.S. Attorney's Office, Solomon served five years as the Camden County prosecutor and one year as acting prosecutor.
Before that, he served five years in the New Jersey General Assembly.
Currently, there are two vacancies on the seven-member Court.
Justice Virginia Long is legally required to retire from the Court. She turned 70 years old this year.
In addition, Christie decided not to renominate Justice John Wallace.
The governor's past nominees haven't fared well in the state's Senate Judiciary Committee.
In May, the judiciary committee rejected Christie's nomination of Chatham Mayor Bruce Harris.
The committee, which is controlled by Democrats, voted 7-6 against Harris. It wants Christie, a Republican, to nominate at least one Democrat to the state's high court.
Harris, a finance attorney of 20 years, would have been the third African-American and first openly gay member of the Court.
He wasn't the first of Christie's nominees to be shot down.
In March, the judiciary committee voted 7-6 against Christie's other nominee, Assistant Attorney General Philip Kwon.
The committee had issues with the fact that neither Kwon nor Harris had ever worked as a judge before.
Christie has said the stalemate over Court nominations boils down to party politics.
"I think these are folks who are just looking for excuse to vote against a Republican on the Supreme Court," the governor said in May, following the vote on Harris' nomination.
From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at email@example.com.