SPENCER TO CHRISTIE: LEAVE POLITICS OUT OF THE JUDICIARY & REAPPOINT JUSTICE WALLACE

(NEWARK) — Assemblywoman L. Grace Spencer Friday sent a letter to Governor Christopher J. Christie on behalf of the Legislative Black Caucus urging the governor to ignore political considerations and reappoint Justice John E. Wallace, Jr. to the New Jersey Supreme Court.

“If Justice Wallace was incompetent or derelict in his duties as a judge, I could understand not considering him for reappointment,” said Spencer (D-Essex). “However, by all counts he has a stellar record and is highly respected by his peers and colleagues. Therefore, the only reason for Governor Christie not to reappoint Justice Wallace would be political considerations.”

According to news reports, the governor is seriously considering not reappointing Wallace to the state’s top court when his term ends on May 20. This consideration comes despite the fact that Wallace would reach the mandatory retirement age of 70 in two years.

“Politicizing nominations to New Jersey’s highest court is a dangerous, slippery slope, something Governor Christie — as a former U.S. Attorney — should know,” said Spencer. “It is my hope that — despite news reports to the contrary — the governor plans to ignore political rhetoric and reappoint a champion of justice to New Jersey’s highest court.”

The full text of Spencer’s letter is appended below:

April 28, 2010

Governor Christopher Christie
Office of the Governor
P.O. Box 001
Trenton, NJ 08625

Dear Governor Christie:

As State Representatives we are charged with the responsibility of legislating and advocating issues on behalf of the people of the state of New Jersey. It is of concern to the Legislative Black Caucus that not renominating Justice John E. Wallace, Jr. to the Supreme Court is being considered.

Justice Wallace has proven to be an exemplary steward of the court. He has a stellar record and is highly respected by his peers and members of the New Jersey State Bar. He works earnestly with his colleagues to render opinions which are in the best interest of the people and has proven that he will not shrink from doing what is wise and good.

Now is the time that we as elected public servants demonstrate that we are working on behalf of the people and not our party or for our own personal goals. To not renominate Justice Wallace is political and not practical.

We, the members of the Legislative Black Caucus, reiterate what was said by the Garden State Bar Association: “Justice Wallace has done nothing to deserve the dubious distinction of being the only Supreme Court justice not to be renominated…. There simply is no justification for his legacy to be attached to such a peculiarity.”

Unequivocally, the Legislative Black Caucus highly recommends Justice John E. Wallace, Jr. for renomination to the New Jersey Supreme Court and implores you to renominate him to the New Jersey Supreme Court.

Respectfully,

L. Grace Spencer, Esq.
Assemblywoman 29th Legislative District
Judiciary Committee, Legislative Black Caucus

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