The Philadelphia Inquirer reports:
New Jersey Democrats have long argued that they would approve only "diverse" nominees to the state Supreme Court. But now, as liberal opposition builds against Gov. Christie's most recent picks, the definition of diverse appears to be changing.
One of the two nominees, Monmouth County Superior Court Judge David Bauman, was born in Japan to a Japanese mother and would be the first Asian American on the high court.
Yet the Legislature's black caucus, the state Latino Action Network, and a broad coalition of more than 50 groups, including teachers' unions and Planned Parenthood, are opposing Bauman and the other nominee, Robert Hanna, who is white, primarily because they would not make the court more diverse - and specifically, because they're not African American or Latino.
"It's deplorable, it's disgusting, it's twisted in many ways," said State Sen. Kevin O'Toole (R., Essex), whose mother was born in North Korea.
Asians, on pace to be the second-biggest minority group in the state, should qualify as "diverse" and deserve a seat on the all-white court, O'Toole said. . . .
"The package is not ideologically or racially or ethnically diverse," said Frank Argote-Freyre, president of the Latino Action Network, who noted that of Christie's five high court nominees, none has been Latino. "He's trying to stack the New Jersey court in a way that goes against New Jersey tradition in an effort to overturn decisions that are important to the Latino and African American communities."
Of specific concern are the two most significant cases the court hears ongoing cases about: requirements for state funding to poor schools and mandates on towns to provide affordable housing.