Clearing judicial nomination backlog long overdue, Christie says

SEA GIRT – Gov. Chris Christie indicated he agrees with a state senator – who he’s long been at odds with over judicial nominations – that taking action on nearly two dozen Superior Court nominations this month represents a “significant breakthrough.”

Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Nicholas Scutari, (D-22), used the term “significant breakthrough” to describe somewhat of a milestone moment between Democratic lawmakers and the Republican governor.

Scutari told PolitickerNJ earlier this week that nearly two dozen appointment and reappointment hearings and session votes on Superior Court nominations are scheduled before the end of the month. And that’s no small deal, he said.

Similarly, it would seem the state’s governor would agree.

“It’s an accomplishment,” said Christie, who prefaced his remarks today by saying that clearing the backlog of judicial nominations is “long overdue.”

“What I’d say is that we shouldn’t have waited nearly as long, but better late than never,” he said.

Christie, who spoke during a news conference in Sea Girt, acknowledged that Scutari “has worked very hard … on this issue,” saying he’s glad his administration was able to sit down at the table with the state lawmakers he’s long been at odds with over judicial nominations.

“I’m still enormously frustrated,” Christie quickly added, steering his comments back to Senate President Steve Sweeney, (D-3), who he says is the sole person to blame for not allowing the governor’s two Supreme Court nominees to reach Scutari’s committee.

“All we’re talking about is giving these guys a fair hearing,” he said. “It seems to me it’s time for the Senate to do their job.”

Senate lawmakers are expected to take up about 10 additional Superior Court nominations Thursday after clearing the way for five earlier in the week.

"Sit down and shut up!"
—Gov. Chris Christie, to a Hurricane Sandy heckler