New Jersey Democrats are accusing Gov. Chris Christie of removing competent state prosecutors from office in order to replace them with his own people.
Republicans, however, are rushing to his defense, saying he has every right to replace state prosecutors with members of his own party, the Newark Star-Ledger
In recent weeks, Christie has moved to replace at least five prosecutors, and Democrats on the state Senate panel that will have to approve his replacements say they won’t consider his nominations until fall. That hasn’t stopped them, however, from weighing in early on what they think of Christies nominees.
“There are some very good, highly qualified, experienced and effective prosecutors not being reappointed by Gov. Christie in the same way he did not reappoint Justice [John] Wallace” to the New Jersey Supreme Court, state Senate Judiciary Committee Democrat Raymond Lesniak told the Star-Ledger.
Committee chairman Nicholas Scutari also questioned whether Christie’s prosecutor nominees even rank “with the people he’s looking to replace.”
The newspaper reported that no one is predicting a standoff over the nominations just yet, but angry Democratic lawmakers have rejected two of his Supreme Court nominees, which has left the seven-judge panel with only five sitting justices since March 1.
Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak accused the Democrats of “prejudging candidates,” calling it a “disturbing pattern.”
“It’s unfair and fundamentally wrong,” Drewniak said. “Here’s a newsflash: the election was a full two-and-a-half years ago. It’s Gov. Christie’s prerogative to pick candidates, not theirs.”
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