Christie Criticizes Democrats for Comments on Court Nominees

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie criticized Democrats in the Legislature today for publicly commenting on confidential questionnaires filled out by his two nominees to the state Supreme Court.

The documents were the basis of a story published yesterday by the Star-Ledger of Newark about the nominees, Bruce Harris, 61, and Philip Kwon, 44. The leak, which Christie said came from someone in the Legislature, was “unprecedented and despicable” and may have violated state and federal statutes, Christie said at a town-hall meeting in Westfield.

Christie, a first-term Republican, nominated Harris and Kwon on Jan. 23 to fill openings on the high court. If confirmed, Harris would be the first openly gay justice and third black on the court, while Kwon would be the first Asian- American and the first immigrant.

“This has never happened -- these folks have engaged in providing personal, confidential information” to the media, Christie said. “They’ve already participated in what is an unprecedented violation of the confidentiality of the confirmation process.”

Two Republican senators, Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr. of Westfield and Gerald Cardinale of Cresskill, also condemned the document leak and called for punishment of those responsible.

Kean and Cardinale wrote to Senate President Stephen Sweeney, citing a Senate rule that says information “concerning the character or qualifications of any person nominated by the governor” and which comes before the Judiciary Committee “shall not be made public.”

They urged a “quickly and timely” consideration by the Senate Judiciary Committee of the nominations.

To contact the reporters on this story: David Voreacos in Newark at dvoreacos@bloomberg.net; Terrence Dopp in Trenton at tdopp@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Tannenbaum at mtannen@bloomberg.net; Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net.

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