New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

I Shudder Contemplating a “Christie-Type” SCOTUS


New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said that the Supreme Court ruling on marriage would not have happened if “Christie-type” judges had been appointed.

During an interview with Fox News Sunday, Christie said the deal he made with the Democrat-led legislature to re-appoint the Democrat chief justice allowed him to appoint three justices of his own choosing whom he labeled “conservative Republicans.” Their ruling recently upheld his pension reform.

They “said in their decision that the judiciary has no business meddling in the business of the executive and legislative branches. That’s in the opinion,” Christie said. “If the Christie-type justices had been on that court in the majority, we would have won those cases in the Supreme Court rather than lost them.”

Well that’s optimistic, but I’m not sure that conservatives in New Jersey feel the same way.

The Judicial Crisis Network put an ad out in Iowa last summer blasting Christie on a deal he made with New Jersey Senate President Steven Sweeney, a Democrat, to renominate Stuart Rabner, a very liberal activist judge, to be the chief justice of a liberal activist New Jersey Supreme Court.

The 90-second ad, which you can see below, was run while the New Jersey Governor visited Iowa:

New Jersey’s Supreme Court has been one of the most activist courts in the nation.  And the people of New Jersey have paid a heavy price.  The court’s liberal rulings have wreaked havoc on state finances, driven away business, and jeopardized jobs.  Because of their lawless rulings, New Jersey’s property taxes are the highest in the country.

One scholar called it the court that broke New Jersey.  Over and over, Gov. Christie promised he would fix it: remake the court with judges who respect the rule of law. Over and over, he broke his promise.

Christie has had five openings on the New Jersey Supreme Court to build a new majority, but the court remains liberal. One Christie appointee, the Chief Justice, is a Democrat — so liberal that he was mentioned as a Barack Obama nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court.  Christie even endorsed Obama’s liberal Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.  Important issues like Obamacare are at stake in our courts.  The next President of the United States may get to appoint as many as three U.S. Supreme Court nominees — a new majority.

Call Chris Christie.  Tell him to fight for judges who respect the rule of law.

Hardly an endorsement for his judicial nominating prowess.  If this is what a “conservative” court looks like in New Jersey, I would hate to see what a “Christie-type” Supreme Court looks like.

Well, actually, we can tell, and it isn’t looking good.


One year ago, to make room for (Faustino) Fernandez-Vina, he made the baffling decision not to renominate a highly respected Republican justice, Helen Hoens, at the end of her initial seven-year term. Hoens’ judicial philosophy had largely paralleled Christie’s own, as witness her votes for the governor’s side on school funding issues and her dissent from the court’s decision that barred him from abolishing the state Council on Affordable Housing.

One of his appointees, Anne Patterson, ruled in favor of same-sex marriage in 2013.  Oops.  Not only that, but she refused to stay a Superior Court order prior.

No one is really sure where Fernandez-Vina lands, but it is unlikely he was a good trade for Hoens, and it doesn’t appear that Christie did his homework prior to the appointment:

Right after Christie’s announcement, questions emerged about the nominee’s political affiliation. Christie said he’s a Republican while voter records indicated he has been a Democrat for four decades. Phyllis Pearl, Camden County’s superintendent of elections, said a data corruption changed voters’ party affiliation, inadvertently switching Fernandez-Vina from a Republican to a Democrat. But McGreevey, who nominated him, said: “My recollection was that he was a Democrat.”

It would seem that Christie’s appointment of Fernandez-Vina wasn’t about party politics but about identity politics:

Other observers, however, noted that Christie was going all-out to win re-election by a landslide, and that naming a Latino justice would boost his standing with that important demographic group. As it turned out, Christie won 51 percent of the Hispanic vote, 19 points more than he had captured in his first-term victory.

Lee Solomon, his third nominee that was confirmed, may be “conservative,” but he doesn’t appear to be pro-life:

Solomon is too new to have established a pattern of constitutional interpretation, but his conservative credentials came under criticism from the right during his confirmation hearings for reportedly taking pro-choice positions as an Assembly member in the 1990s.

Yes, “Christie-like” justices are just oh so inspiring.

Shane Vander Hart is the online communications manager for American Principles in Action, a frequent contributor to, and the editor of Iowa-based

Shane Vander Hart

Shane Vander Hart, an Iowa native, is the online communications manager for the American Principles Project and a frequent contributor to Shane is also the Editor-in-Chief for, a popular Christian conservative blog.

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