This year, the Democrat-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee has rejected two of Governor Chris Christie’s nominations to the State Supreme Court.

Bruce Harris could have been the third African-American and first openly gay person to serve of the High Court. In March, the Senate panel shot down Phil Kwon. Christie hopes to submit another nomination this month.

Christie has been critical of the High Court saying the justices are legislating from the bench. He has a particular problem with the Abbott school funding decisions that tell the State how much money it must spend to fund education and where that money must go. The Justices are expected to consider the latest Abbott case soon as well as two other high profile matters; one involving affordable housing and the other the legalization of same-sex marriage.

Fairleigh Dickinson University political science professor Peter Woolley calls the education funding cases, “The core of New Jersey’s budget and that’s really at the core of much of New Jersey’s budget politics….We’re talking about a court where a lot is at stake for New Jersey politics.”

Christie has bashed the Democrats for politicizing the court and for rejecting Kwon and Harris in the name of politics.

In Late May, Christie said, “I’m not nominating Democrats. I’m just not until there’s four Republicans….. Once there’s four Republicans if another vacancy comes open I’ll nominate a Democrat, but until that time I’m not going to……If they want Democrats for the court they better win the next election so, they better start working now I guess.”

Democratic State Senate President Steve Sweeney said, “We will, I guess cross that bridge when we cross it. He can nominate who he wants. He can’t make me do a hearing.”

Sweeney also reminds the Christie that there were two recent elections, “He was elected Governor, but they elected a Senate that’s Democrat and we have a right to voice our opinions……You know, (selecting a nominee is the) Governor’s prerogative. Our prerogative is to stand our position too which is a balanced court.

“I think there are probably Republicans the Governor can nominate who will be acceptable to the (Democrat-controlled) legislature, but they probably wouldn’t be acceptable to the Governor,” says Woolley. “I expect that the Governor is going to make an appointment most of all that he thinks is going to advance his agenda.”