Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Chris Christie Hates Judicial Independence

In a recent press conference, Governor Christie finally made clear why he decided to remove Justice John Wallace from the State Supreme Court. As reported by the Star Ledger, the Governor said the following last week in Robbinsville:

"If people wonder why I want to change the Supreme Court, it's because I don't have the flexibility to change the school funding formula."

What the Governor means is that he wants to get rid of the State education funding requirements imposed under Supreme Court decisions starting with Abbott vs. Burke.

Thus, the Governor has made clear that he does not value the independence of the judiciary, or agree that judges should be evaluated on their personal merits and not on the extent to which they agree with anyone's political priorities. Justice Wallace was removed for no other reason that to make room for someone who will overrule Abbott vs. Burke.

If there was any doubt about the Governor's antipathy towards an independent judiciary, he put it to rest when he said:

"They've taken the power out of the hands of the Legislature to make this judgment and out of the hands of the Governor, and the courts are making it. Well, that's wrong. If judges want to legislate, they should run for the Legislature. . . They're put there, and they believe they should stay there without any responsiveness to the people of the State."

In essence, the Governor is mocking judges for believing in both checks and balances and an independent judiciary. Which led the Star-Ledger to note that the Governor has revealed his hard-right agenda.

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