Chris Christie, Not His Questioner, Was Out of Order: The Ticker

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By Jonathan Weil

For anyone who hasn't seen the YouTube video, here's what New Jersey Governor Chris Christie told William Brown, an Iraq War veteran and former Navy SEAL, after Brown spoke at a March 8 town hall meeting against the governor's plan to merge Rutgers University's Camden law school with Rowan University:

"If you decide what you want to do is put on a show today, let me tell you something, I can go back and forth with you as much as you want," he said. "And let me tell you something, after you graduate from law school, you conduct yourself like that in a courtroom, your rear end's gonna get thrown in jail, idiot."

Brown, a second-year law student at Rutgers-Camden, wasn't in a courtroom when he addressed Christie. But let's pretend he was. That way, it would only be fair to hold Christie, the former U.S. attorney for the state of New Jersey, to the same standard of behavior we should expect of a sitting judge.

This excerpt comes from Canon 3 of the Code of Conduct for United States Judges: "A judge should be patient, dignified, respectful, and courteous to litigants, jurors, witnesses, lawyers and others with whom the judge deals in an official capacity."

Perhaps Christie could enlighten the rest of us on how it was dignified or respectful for him to call Brown an idiot. Turnabout is fair play.

(Jonathan Weil is a Bloomberg View columnist. Follow him on Twitter.)

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-0- Mar/12/2012 20:48 GMT