Tags: Chris Christie | Chris Christie | court | Stuart Rabner

Brent Bozell Slams Gov. Christie Over Court Pick

By Drew MacKenzie   |   Tuesday, 27 May 2014 12:28 PM

Conservative activist Brent Bozell has accused New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie of flipping "his middle finger at conservatives" by nominating the state’s liberal chief justice Stuart Rabner for long-term tenure.

Bozell warned the Republican governor that conservatives would not forget his plan to reappoint Rabner if Christie decides to run for the White House in 2016, according to the National Review.

"He is divorced from reality," Bozell, chairman of the political action committee ForAmerica, said about Christie, who’s also been caught up in the bridge-gate scandal and the state's $800 million budget shortfall crisis.

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Rabner, a Democrat who has been chief justice since 2007, has inflamed the right by opening up a pathway to the legalization of same-sex marriage in New Jersey.
However, he’s a longtime friend of Christie's and served as his deputy in the U.S. attorney’s office. With tenure, Rabner would remain on the bench until 2030.

But his "renomination" is being viewed by conservatives as Christie going back on his campaign promise to move the top court to the right, while showing that the governor is unwilling to get into a showdown with Democrats over judicial nominations, the Review said.

Daryn Iwicki, the director of the New Jersey branch of the Koch brothers-founded Americans for Prosperity political action committee, called Christie’s decision "disastrous news for taxpayers" and added that Rabner’s tenure would have "untold consequences on the state for years to come."

During his 2007 campaign, Christie declared that not one of the justices on the state’s Supreme Court had the sort of opinions he would hope to find while selecting a new justice for the top court.

Rabner's reappointment "was part of a compromise" the governor reached with Democrats in the state Senate, the Review said. As part of the agreement, Christie was allowed to nominate Republican Judge Lee Solomon to a seven-year term on the court.

The governor defended the move last week, saying that he had been forced to make adjustment due to a divided New Jersey state legislature. "The fact is that when you compromise you don’t get everything you want," he said, according to the Review.

But Carrie Severino, chief counsel of the conservative Judicial Crisis Network, told the Review, "Christie is trying to present himself as the great compromiser going into the presidential season. What he is actually doing is showing Republicans that the priority he places on the judiciary is very low."

Conservative groups have also denounced Christie for deferring to the New Jersey State Bar Association and for failing to make tort reforms in a state notorious for its personal injury cases.

Severino and Bozell have now expressed their concerns that if Christie becomes president, the U.S. Supreme Court could move left, according to the Review.

They say he will nominate more moderate judges like Supreme Court Justices David Souter and John Paul Stevens, rather than right-leaning justices such as Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.

"What he’s telling us is if he’s president then we can expect a Christie court to look no different from an Obama court," Bozell said in a statement.

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