Governor Christie called out two Democratic senators at a press conference late last week, blaming them for judicial vacancies in Essex County. He said Sens. Richard Cody and Ron Rice blocked the appointment of his pick for the education commissioner. As a result, Christie said he will not fill judicial vacancies in Essex County. The pair fired back at the governor.
Christie said the situation with Christopher Cerf, currently serving as acting education commissioner, is unprecedented. Senatorial courtesy allows legislators living in the home county of the appointee to block the nomination without justification. Christie said Cerf has been blocked for a year and because of that, he will not fill open judicial positions in Essex County, where Cody and Rice reside. Cody said Christie was lying during last week’s press conference and Rice said it’s wrong to tie judicial appointments to the education commissioner issue. NJToday’s David Cruz files this report.