By Anna Jaffray
New Jersey’s Republican Governor, Chris Christie, a gay marriage opponent, nominated the state’s first openly gay Supreme Court Justice, who is also a black Republican.
Christie nominated Bruce Harris, a native of New Jersey, who is currently mayor of Chatham Borough.
Harris attended Amherst College, graduated magna cum laude, earned an MBA from the Boston University Graduate School of Management and a JD from Yale Law School. He is currently Of Counsel at Greenberg Traurig LLP in Florham Park, New Jersey and previously worked for Riker, Danzi, Scherer, Hyland and Perretti. Harris previously served on the Chatham Borough Council from 2004-2012 and was recently elected mayor in January 2012.
During a reorganization meeting on January 3rd 2012, Mayor Harris showed no qualms about acknowledging his partner of 32 years, Marc Boisclair, who participated in the opening of the meeting by holding the bible during a prayer by local Reverend Shawn Garvey.
“I doubt there are many people who would turn down this honor,” said Harris at a press conference. “Serving on the Supreme Court would allow me to combine my desire to serve the community and my interest in government, with my career…I’ve worked very hard to become your mayor and having to make this choice is one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make.”
There are currently six other openly gay justices in Hawaii, Colorado, Massachusetts, Vermont, and two in Oregon.
Despite Christie’s open hostility towards gay marriage, he maintains a healthy relationship with the gay community in New Jersey. Steven Goldstein, chairman of the state’s gay rights group, Garden State Equality, is on the record at Edge Providence, confirming Christie’s,“warmth and responsiveness” to the state’s gay community.
The second nomination put forth by Governor Christie is for Phil Kwon, the first Korean-American and the first immigrant nomination for New Jersey. In another controversial move, Christie recently denied Judge John Wallace, currently the only non-white member, tenure. The remainder of the court is made up of four women and two men, one of only five female-dominated courts in the country. Wallace was the first to be denied tenure since the most recent ratification of the New Jersey Constitution in 1947.