Snooki won’t be cavorting along the Jersey shore of the Hudson River anytime soon.
The birthplace of the Chairman of the Board and baseball doesn’t have to worry about Snooki and JWoww filling the vacancy created by Jon Corzine’s departure, thanks to Mayor Dawn Zimmer telling MTV that a spinoff to the show that made Seaside Heights an international destination will not be filmed in her city, according to a report on NJ.com.
Controversial Traditional Marriage Advocate Says Christie’s Supreme Court Nominee Lacks Judicial Temperment
Bob Brown, President of the National Organization for Marriage, sent an email blast this evening asking the recipients to contact New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and ask him to withdraw Chatham Mayor Bruce Harris, an African-American, openly gay Republican, as a nominee to the State Supreme Court.
Brown said the Harris nomination appeared to be failure a vetting, “not a deliberate backhand betrayal by New Jersey’s governor.”
The email, which directs readers to the organization’s website where they are prompted to send a pre-written email to Christie, reads as follows:
I need your help right now to stop Gov. Christie from making a horrible mistake-appointing a radically pro-gay marriage anti-Christian judge to the state supreme court.
Gov. Chris Christie has been the hope of millions of Americans across the country looking for honest conservative leadership.
Last week we asked you to thank Gov. Christie for saying he will follow through on his campaign promise to veto same-sex marriage.
This week, we have urgent and terrible news to report-Gov. Chris Christie’s nominee to the New Jersey Supreme Court is not only an outspoken advocate for gay marriage, he has extreme and hateful views equating traditional Christian views on sex and marriage with slavery.
This kind of intemperate and extreme view should be totally unacceptable in a GOP judicial nominee.
Yet Gov. Christie’s proposed supreme court nominee Bruce Harris sent this email in 2009 to State Senator Joe Pennacchio urging him to vote for gay marriage:
“When I hear someone say that they believe marriage is only between a man and a woman because that’s the way it’s always been, I think of the many “traditions” that deprived people of their civil rights for centuries: prohibitions on interracial marriage, slavery, (which is even provided for in the Bible), segregation, the subservience of women, to name just a few of these “traditions.”
I hope that you consider my request that you re-evaluate your position and, if after viewing the videos, reading Governor Whitman’s letter and thinking again about this issue of civil rights you still oppose same-sex marriage on grounds other than religion I would appreciate it if you you’d explain your position to me. And, if the basis of your opposition is religious, then I suggest that you do what the US Constitution mandates-and that is to maintain a separation between the state and religion.”
Governor Christie says that Harris has promised to recuse himself when the same-sex marriage comes before the court, but even this unenforceable promise misses the bigger issue: a man who cannot tell the difference between supporting our traditional understanding of marriage and wanting to enslave a people lacks common sense and judicial temperament.
And to suggest that legislators should ignore the views of religious constituents, that moral views grounded in the Bible are somehow illegitimate in the public square, seriously compounds the offense.
These are not the words of a judicial conservative, a man who believes in common sense, strict construction of the state constitution-the kind of judge Gov. Christie promised to appoint to the court.
How did this happen?
When Assemblyman Mike Carroll was sent a copy of that email by a reporter, he had one word in response: “Yikes.”
Gov. Christie’s nomination of Bruce Harris appears to be a result of a failure in the vetting process, not a deliberate backhanded backroom betrayal by New Jersey’s governor. If so, the Governor can and must honorably withdraw the nomination.
The next generation of GOP leadership on the national level have to understand: knowingly appointing radical anti-religious justices is unacceptable.
Please, right now, send Gov. Christie a message keep him from making a terrible mistake marring his record. Tell Christie: Withdraw the Bruce Harris nomination today. Protect our judiciary from radically unconservative judges with extremist views pushing gay marriage and equating Christianity with slavery.
The New York Times called the Florida GOP presidential primary for former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney at the moment the polls closed in the western part of the state.
As of 8:29 pm EST, with 63% of the results reported, Romney leads former House Speaker Newt Gingrich 47% to 31%. Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum has 13.2% of the preliminary count and Texas Congressman Ron Paul 6.9%.
The Times reported that Santorum, the winner of the Iowa caucuses has started running ads in Nevada targeting Gingrich’s Tea Party support, saying the Speaker’s policies, including support of Wall Street bailouts mirror those of another former Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, and President Barack Obama.
Middletown Mayor Tony Fiore has asked for the resignation of Middletown Library Board President Randall Gabrielan because Gabrielan has been selling books to the library personally and signing the purchase orders for those books himself as president of the board, according to a report on Middletown Patch.
Gabrielan, a former insurance broker, is also the Executive Director of the Monmouth County Historical Commission, a pensionable position for which he earned $35,391 in 2010, according to APP.com’s Data Universe.
Middletown’s Vendor History report on Gabrielan reveals that he has sold the library $778.45 worth of books since 2007.
Gabrielan told Patch that he considered Fiore’s move to be “political retribution” for his opposition to the Library turning over $500,000 of its surplus to the Township in last year’s budget.
Fiore said that it is a matter of ethics and fiscal accountability. The mayor has turned the matter over to the state’s Department of Community Affairs’ Division of Local Government Local Government Services.
Library Board Trustee Sherry Miloscia also signed Gabrielan’s purchase orders. Yesterday, Library Director Susan O’Neal informed Fiore that Miloscia resigned effective January 20.
With the Presidential primary season well under way, we are now being treated to candidates going from state to state almost every week in an effort or convince voters that they are the right person to lead the country. If you are wondering when the candidate train stops in New Jersey, well I have some bad news. Last September, the Lieutenant Governor signed a bill approved by the Legislature, which moved the New Jersey 2012 Presidential Primary from February (when it had been held in 2008 on the 5th of February aka “Super Tuesday” ) to June 5, 2012. In 2005, the Legislature had voted to move the 2008 primary which had normally been held in June, to February in an effort to try to give New Jersey voters more influence in picking their party’s Presidential candidates. In 2008, despite the fact that New Jersey’s primary was held on the same day as those in over 20 other states, several candidates did campaign in New Jersey despite it not getting as much of a national focus as had been hoped for. Over 1.1 million residents voted in the 2008 New Jersey Democratic Primary which was won by Hilary Clinton over Barack Obama. In the Republican contest, over 500,000 people went to the polls in an election that saw the party’s eventual nominee John McCain almost doubling the amount of votes received by the 2nd place finisher Mitt Romney. It was estimated that the cost of moving the primary from June to February was $12 million.
What makes the participation numbers interesting is when you weigh them against the number of voters taking part in the first two caucuses or primaries this year. Roughly 122,000 people voted in the Iowa Republican caucuses with approximately 250,000 people voting in the New Hampshire GOP Primary. Although there was a Democratic caucus in Iowa and a primary in New Hampshire, they were not competitive races with President Obama virtually unopposed for his party’s nomination. With several Republicans dropping out of their party’s contest just before, during or right after these races, the amount of influence these states have in choosing a party’s nominee is hugely out of proportion to the numbers of voters who take part. Contrast these participation numbers with those of the 2008 general election where close to 130 million voters went to the polls.
So the questions that beg for answers are 1) How can New Jersey residents become more influential in the process of picking their party’s candidate (besides moving to Iowa or New Hampshire for a few months every four years)? 2) What can be done to make the choice of each party’s nominee less dependent on voters in one or two states where they clearly have to much power and contain voters whose views are not always representative of the majority of voters in other states. Note that major issues in Iowa where farm subsidies, ethanol, religion/faith and social issues. One thing is for sure, none of those three would be the top issues for the majority of New Jersey voters. There are no easy answers to question #1. The major party’s threatened loss of convention delegates to States which were going to hold their primaries too early in the 2012 process. One idea for 2016 would be for the state to revert to the 2008 model and possibly schedule its primary in mid/late February or early March of 2016 (This also depends on party scheduling rules that can change.) As mentioned above, this change does come with additional cost ($12 million) and there is no guarantee that the nomination for one or both parties would not have been secured by that date.
The other idea which has been debated for several years, is holding a series (4-6) of regional primaries in the early March to early June time-frame. The order of these would rotate every four years. This would give more states greater influence in picking the eventual nominees. Even if Iowa and New Hampshire kept their traditional places at the starting gate, they would not have the same importance or as great a focus on by candidates.
Since 1976, only 3 of the 18 nominating contests were so close that almost every delegate mattered to the eventual nominee. A couple of interesting historical facts about New Jersey Presidential Primaries are:
In 1972, Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm won the states Democratic Primary. Rep. Chisholm was the first woman to run for the Democratic Presidential nomination and the first major party African American Presidential candidate.
In 1976, in an unsuccessful effort to stop Jimmy Carter from obtaining the Democratic nomination, a slate of uncommitted delegates backing Senator Hubert Humphrey and then (and current) California Governor Jerry Brown, defeated Carter by a wide margin. Carter’s primary win in Ohio the same day however, cinched the nomination for him. I attended a campaign rally for Governor Brown the day before the election at Airport Plaza in Hazlet on June 7, 1976. The story was the lead in the next days Red Bank Register and can be viewed here:
The press is vetting Govenor Chris Christie’s nominees to the State Supreme Court.
NJ.com, The Star Ledger’s website, posted an article this morning about the family business of nominee Phillip Kwon. Kwon’s mother owns a liquor store in Mt. Vernon, NY that made a $160,000 settlement with the New York U.S. Attorney’s office over $2,000,000 in allegedly “structured” cash bank deposits. “Structuring” is the practice of spreading out cash deposits in order to avoid the $10,000 trigger that requires the bank to report the deposit to the IRS.
There is no evidence or allegation that Kwon had anything to do with the business or the transactions. There was no admission of liablity in the settlement.
Star Ledger columnist/blogger Paul Mulshine reports that Bruce Harris, the African-American gay Mayor of Chatham that Christie nominatied to the Court along with Kwon this week, wrote an email to state senators, including Joe Pennacchio, asking that they support the same sex marriage bill that was before the Senate during the lame duck session of 2009.
Harris’s email said, in part (with emphasis added):
The New Jersey Supreme court has determined that our relationship is entitled to the equal protection guarantees of the State Constitution. The New jersey Civil Union Review Commission determined that civil unions do not provide the equality the State Constitution mandates.(Please take a few moments and visit www.gardenstateequality.org. which has two short videos that provide sad examples of the failures of the civil union law.)
Mulshine points out that there is no equal protection clause in the State Constitution. Mulshine quotes conservative Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll regarding “originalists” interpretations of the State Constitution:
“No originalist can tell me there’s an equal protection clause in the constitution. No originalist can tell me there’s a right to a thorough and efficient education or a right to affordable housing.”
As much as Christie has done, and is attempting to do, to reform New Jersey’s government, there is nothing more important he can do that make sure conservatives, “orignalists,” are seated on the Supreme Court. The State Supreme Court will be his legacy.
I hope that Christie is not using the same standard that former Governor Christine Todd Whitman used to populate the Court, i.e., appointing friends and senior staffers or making “diversity” appointments for political gain.
The activist State Supreme Court, with the consent of the Legislature and six governors/acting governors, have destroyed New Jersey’s economy over the two decades.
Governor Christie needs to make sure his nominees have the “right stuff.” Hopefully Kwon and Harris do.
Harris said we would recuse himself from cases involving gay marriage. Now that he is going to be a Justice, if confirmed, he needs to brush up on the State Constitution.
As for Kwon, the news of his mother’s business with the feds is interesting but does not qualify him.
The question the Senate Judiciary Committee, and the press, should ask, is what does qualify Kwon and Harris.
Is being the Governor’s long term trusted colleague enough? Is being Black and gay enough?
Maybe it is. But similar standards did not serve us well with Whitman’s Court.
The state has until the end of March to amend the law or to provide funding for its implementation, according to Gannett’s Statehouse Bureau.
The Council on Local Mandates was created in 1995 by a constitutional amendment approved by the voters. Its members are appointed by the governor and both parties leaders in the legislature and the chief justice of the supreme court. The council is empowered to “expire” laws, rules and regulations that compel boards of educations, municipalities and counties to take action without providing resources to pay for the mandate.
Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen), the anti bullying bill’s lead sponsor, called the council a “rarely used, shadowy fourth branch of government.”
Why is it rarely used? MMM often hears local municipal officials and school board members complaining about money the state is making them spend.