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Weinberg Calls For Diversity, Partisan Balance In Supreme Court Nominees

Says Nominees Must Adhere to Basic Standards of Independent Judicial Mindset and Protect Core Values of New Jersey Residents

TRENTON – Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, D-Bergen, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, issued the following statement today, urging the Governor to maintain racial and ethnic diversity and political balance when choosing nominees for the New Jersey Supreme Court, and announcing that the Senate would refuse to consider nominees who do not exhibit the diversity of background and opinion that adequately represents the population of New Jersey:

“Before this year is through, Governor Christie will have the opportunity to appoint two new jurists to serve on our State’s highest court. It would be a disservice to New Jersey for the Governor to ignore ethnic diversity and partisan balance in his choice of Supreme Court nominees.

“Until recently, we have had a tradition of racial representation and partisan balance on the Supreme Court. These traditions serve a purpose – to make sure that the concerns of all New Jersey’s residents are represented in the administration of justice, and that political ideology doesn’t taint the decisions handed down by the Supreme Court.

“Supreme Court Justices need to be committed to protecting the rights of New Jersey residents and upholding judicial precedent where it exists, regardless of pressure from the State’s Chief Executive or members of the Legislative branch. And finally, they need to stand firm and not roll back protections for minorities, school children, consumers and the most vulnerable that are guaranteed by law – protections designed to address the concerns which have near universal consensus in the Garden State.

“Unfortunately, the Governor has signaled that he is looking to pick nominees that will overrule well-established law and promote an ideological agenda. In a recent Wall Street Journal piece, he indicated that his nominees must be willing to state that prior school funding decisions are ‘wrong’ and that he will ‘change the court’ to accomplish his ends.

“Clearly the public does not agree with the Governor’s results oriented approach. Less than three months ago, the people of New Jersey elected a Democratic Senate to serve as a check and balance against a Republican Governor. They entrusted us with the Constitutional responsibility to provide advice and consent on all nominees, and we shall exercise this responsibility to ensure that our Supreme Court is devoid of partisan leaning and representative of our diverse population. Any attempt to homogenize or sway the Court towards one political ideology over the other will be rejected outright by members of the Senate Democratic caucus. Simply put, we will not allow the Supreme Court to be hijacked.

“We hope that the Governor will join us to make sure that his nominees best represent the interests of all New Jersey residents.”

To read the Governor’s stated philosophy on Supreme Court nominees, please check the Wall Street Journal article, posted here.