New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's Black gay Republican nominee to the state supreme court has already promised to recuse himself from any marriage equality case. Bruce Harris claims that he has previously "advocated for the issue," reports the AP.
Years ago, Harris, 61, wrote to several state senators asking for their support of a same-sex marriage bill being heard by the Senate in late 2009. Christie, a Republican who supports civil unions but opposes calling it marriage, said Harris volunteered the information about his writing.
"He told me he favored same-sex marriage, had advocated for it in his political capacity and as a result, if he were confirmed to the court, would recuse himself from that matter because he did not want there to be the appearance of bias," the governor recalled.
According to a copy of the mail, obtained by The Star-Ledger of Newark, Harris wrote:
"When I hear someone say that they believe marriage is only between a man and a woman because that's the way it's always been, I think of the many 'traditions' that deprived people of their civil rights for centuries: prohibitions on interracial marriage, slavery, (which is even provided for in the Bible), segregation, the subservience of women, to name just a few of these 'traditions.'"
Harris would become the state's first openly LGBT justice ... and the nation's first openly gay Black state supreme court justice. The corporate attorney was elected mayor of Chatham Borough in November. At that time, he became the nation's only openly gay Black Republican mayor.
Harris' appointment comes a year and a half after the Republican governor infuriated Democrats and minorities by replacing the court's only Black justice with a white Republican. Harris would replace veteran Back Democraic Justice John Wallace, who supported LGBT rights and marriage equality.
Judicial recusals usually happen on a case by case basis. It's rather odd for a judicial nominee to preemptively announce a recusal before confirmation ... and to make such a promise to the governor. Quid for quo?