The three New Jersey Supreme Court justices who opted not to re-hear the case where the Court demanded state lawmakers create equal marriage rights for gays aren’t afraid of losing their jobs, insists Gov. Chris Christie, who has the power not to re-appoint them, but “based their decision on the interpretations of the law and the facts,” he insists. “When you accuse them of putting their jobs ahead of their duty, you impugn the Judiciary when you make that kind of allegation. I am not going to participate in that. I have more respect for the Judiciary than that.” That’s a lie.
Chief Justice Stuart Rabner and Justices Roberto Rivera-Soto and Helen Hoens, who are all up for re-appointment and all decided not to hear Lewis vs. Harris again, have a right to be scared: In May, having been on the job just five months, Christie decided to replace Justice John Wallace (the Court’s only black justice and nominated in 2003 by Democratic Gov. Jim McGreevey) with attorney Anne Patterson because, Christie said at the time, “The court over the course of the last three decades has gotten out of control. The only way to change the court is to change its members.”
Critics (read: Democratic state lawmakers) described Christie’s move as “unprecedented.” Chief Justice Rabner even made the bold step to criticize the governor, knowing it could make his own reappointment more difficult. And the most bizarre part of all this: Wallace is two years away from turning 70, when he’d have to retire anyhow.
Before making the decision to oust Wallace, Christie acknowledged to reporters: “There is politics in everything we do. … Whatever decision I make will be based on a whole number of factors, and politics will only be a part of it.” Ahem. Just “part.”