The Christie Administration received a little bit of good news on Tuesday afternoon, Save Jerseyans, despite having to watch the latest chapter in the Bridgegate spectacle play out in Mercer County Superior Court.
New Jersey’s Supreme Court granted a temporary stay of a March 7th order requiring the infamous Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) to convene and concoct new rules directing municipalities in the process of allocating lower income housing.
I loathe Rachel Maddow’s worldview, Save Jerseyans, but she’s good at what she does. Much like Alex Jones on the polar opposite end of the ideological spectrum, she’s capable of putting together seemingly obvious or mundane tidbits crusted around the peripheries of stories and presenting it to her audience in a way that doesn’t sound completely crazy.
Here’s a great Bridgegate example:
Maddow’s theory has some holes. You’ve probably caught most of them. For starters, how does punishing one town in LD37 make Steve Sweeney (who is orchestrating the whole strategy to block Christie’s judicial appointments) suddenly feel affected?
Senator Kevin O’Toole (R-Bergen, Essex, Morris, Passaic), a staunch ally of Governor Chris Christiewho almost became Senate Minority Leader last month, wants to end N.J. Democrat efforts to block his Supreme Court nominees by following the federal Senate’s lead by abolishing filibusters for judicial nominees.
Specifically, O’Toole would like to see a rule ending the practice of using senatorial courtesy to indefinitely postpone high court nominations and requiring a vote on each and every gubernatorial nominee to the New Jersey Supreme Court within 90 days from the date of nomination.
Camden County Superior Court Assignment Judge Fernandez-Vina is officially on his way to the New Jersey Supreme Court, Save Jerseyans, after the State Senate approved his nomination earlier Monday.
Governor Chris Christie celebrated Fernandez-Vina’s ascension:
“I congratulate Judge Faustino Fernandez-Vina on his unanimous and historic confirmation to become the only Hispanic member of the Court. With his extensive experience in both the private and public sector, Judge Fernandez-Vina is eminently qualified to serve on New Jersey’s Supreme Court, and has earned bipartisan support from leaders on both sides of the aisle. I am glad the legislature left politics out of this process and gave Judge Fernandez-Vina the smooth confirmation he deserves.”
Today’s confirmation is a rare victory for Governor Christie on the Supreme Court front; his tactical alliance with Senate President Steve Sweeney and the South Jersey political machine hasn’t extended to judges, a situation which has produced only two (2) new justices (counting Fernandez-Vina), numerous Superior Court vacancies and very little change on the high court during the Republican’s first term despite his concerted efforts.
The NJ GOP’s inability to pick up any state senate seats on November 5th could result in an epic clash for summer 2014 when Chief Justice Stuart Rabner, an old Christie ally from his U.S. Attorney days but who has used his position to block many Christie reforms, is up for reappointment next summer.
According to the auditors, Pleasantville wasted millions through redundant hiring, failing to track enrollment and allotting funds to programs that were never enacted. They also failed to conduct background checks on nearly 100 employees. Lovely.
Earlier today Governor Christie made yet another appointment to the New Jersey Supreme Court, something he seems to have to do quite often since the Democrats have made a habit of delaying and even denying his previous, qualified nominees. This time, the reason for the impending vacancy is that Senator Lesniak, in partisan, “war on women” fashion, made it clear that Justice Helen Hoens would not be reaffirmed by the Democrats in the State Senate.
Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean, Jr. put out a statement earlier today that highlighted how diverse this nomination was,
Assignment Judge Fernandez-Vina has an impressive track-record that has earned him a pair of overwhelming New Jersey Senate confirmations, appointment to the state Superior Court by a Democratic governor and resounding praise from Chief Justice Stuart Rabner. Fernandez-Vina brings diversity as a Hispanic man who stands to be the only Supreme Court Justice from South Jersey
Fernandez-Vina is also registered as a Democrat, but says he is Republican. Camden County Superintendent of Elections Phyllis Pearl confirmed today that the D next to the Judge’s name was merely a technical glitch that occurred during a software switch at the Board of Elections, and that since Fernandez-Vina never votes in primaries, it was never corrected. Apparently the registration is being switched to Republican now that it has met scrutiny.
So here is my question to you, Save Jerseyans. Is a politically, racially, or geographically diverse Supreme Court important to you? Do you believe that these demographic differences make for better justice in our state? Or is the focus on what we can see when we look at Judge Fernandez-Vina, and really every nominee that gets put up for the job, damaging to the process?
Today’s decision is the unfortunate result of an activist, liberal court that has little respect for the Constitution and our nation’s founding principles. While I believe government should not be in the business of marriage, it is not the Supreme Court’s responsibility to make that decision. Laws should be made by legislatures, not by unelected judges. To do so is a usurpation of our democratic tradition at the heart of this country’s founding.”
I’ve only given the decision a cursory read at this point (click here); I’ll write a more in-depth post at a later date. BUT, in fairness to Steve, it wouldn’t be the first time in American History that the U.S. Supreme Court (or the feds in general) arrived at the right conclusion via the wrong way. I share the libertarian belief that government should “get out” of marriage. Did the Supremes’ decision do more harm than good in the process? To be continued…
The U.S. Supreme Court has struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a federal law from the Clinton era that the Obama Administration’s Justice Department wasn’t enforcing anyway, in what will certainly prove to be a historically controversial 5-4 ruling. Justice Anthony Kennedy once again provided the deciding vote and authored the majority opinion. Click here to read the opinion.
As to California’s controversial Prop 8, yet again acting on the basis of a 5-4 ruling, the Supremes decided to vacatethe Ninth Circuit’s decision and remand the case, citing procedural issues that would make anyone but an attorney like myself pass out from boredom. Click here to read it. Long story short? Gay marriage in Cali is now inevitable (after a few legal challenges), but the nation’s highest court found a way to get it done without issuing a definitive ruling on gay marriage that would settle the issue nationally…
Now I can’t wait to hear my reliably hyper-emotional liberal friends explain how #scotus could be, in their estimation, both hopelessly backwards and inspiringly progressive all in a span of 24 hours…
But sometimes . . . . well, it seems there’s just no other word that will do.
And that’s the case here.
We’re talking about Tuesday’s United States Supreme Court decision in the Voting Rights Act case — the decision in which the Supreme Court basically threw out a key component of the law.
Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority opinion for the Court. And, in essence, here was his message: Times have changed. We must move on. What was needed yesterday is no longer needed today. We’ve changed. Society has moved on. People’s minds and attitudes and actions have changed and so, we cannot go back to the old ways. We must get up to date, open our eyes, accept the new realities and move forward.
Citing financial concerns, the Obama administration has begun quietly winding down one of the earliest programs created by the president’s health care overhaul, a plan that helps people with medical problems who can’t get private insurance.
In an afternoon teleconference with state counterparts, administration officials said Friday the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan will stop taking new applications. People already in the plan will not lose coverage.”
Can you see the cracks in this monstrosity, Save Jerseyans?
Governor Chris Christie held a “Mobile Cabinet Meeting” today in Union Beach, New Jersey (Monmouth County), Save Jerseyans, where he addressed a number of issues hot button issues directly related to the Hurricane Sandy relief effort.
Governor Chris Christie filed the following Superior Court judicial nominations this afternoon, Save Jerseyans:
SUPERIOR COURT Nominate for reappointment Arthur Bergman (East Brunswick, Middlesex) Nominate for reappointment Sherry A. Hutchins-Henderson (West Orange, Essex) Nominate for reappointment Robert J. Mega (Clark, Union) Nominate for reappointment Bonnie J. Mizdol (Paramus, Bergen) Nominate for reappointment Kenneth J. Slomienski (Wallington, Bergen) Nominate for appointment Peter A. Bogaard (Chester, Morris) Nominate for appointment Bradford M. Bury (Watchung, Somerset) Nominate for appointment J. Randall Corman (Sayreville, Middlesex) Nominate for appointment Angela White Dalton (Howell, Monmouth) Nominate for appointment Katie A. Gummer (Rumson, Monmouth) Nominate for appointment Daniel R. Lindemann (Wayne, Passaic) Nominate for appointment Linda E. Mallozzi (Union, Union) Nominate for appointment Arnold L. Natali, Jr. (Little Silver, Monmouth) Nominate for appointment Michael F. O’Neill (Branchburg, Somerset) Nominate for appointment Christopher D. Rafano (South River, Middlesex) Nominate for appointment Nesle A. Rodriguez (Jersey City, Hudson) Nominate for appointment Joseph W. Oxley (Red Bank, Monmouth) Nominate for appointment Donald J. Stein (Haddon Heights, Camden) Nominate for appointment James P. Wilson (Roselle, Union) Nominate for appointment Mara E. Zazzali-Hogan (Shrewsbury, Monmouth)
ADMINISTRATIVE Nominate for appointment Joseph A. Ascione (Westfield, Union)