Inside New Jersey politics for the past week

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Superior Court Judge James Morley

TRENTON – Democrats have spoken much less on Republican Gov. Chris Christie’s recent decision not to re-elect State Superior Court Judge James Morley than on the governor’s refusal to re-elect Supreme Court Justice John Wallace Jr.

Perhaps this is because the governor was clear on two of Morley’s decisions he disagreed with, or perhaps because the three senators who must approve Morley’s appointment are all Republicans.

Morley said the governor’s chief attorney told him that Christie, a former US attorney from New Jersey, was concerned about his “comments and reasoning” in two sexual cases. The first case involved a 45-year-old teacher’s aide who had sex with a 16-year-old college student, the second involved an alleged attempt by a former New Jersey police officer to have sex with cows.

“We certainly understand his disappointment, but the governor has made his decision,” Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak said.

In the case of the teacher’s aide, Morley sentenced her to five years in prison but said he didn’t think she was a predator for what she had done, although it was criminal .

In the case of the cows, Morley said bestiality is not a crime in the state and prosecutors have not presented enough evidence to jurors that the officer’s alleged actions tormented the animals.

State judges are likely to be appointed after seven years. If they are then approved, they have a life term.

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QUOTES OF THE WEEK

Hoping to speed up the hearing of the Assembly’s gaming regulatory committee, President John Burzichelli, D-West Deptford, has become a philosopher on the testimony given during the debates.

“Sometimes the strongest testimony is not a testimony”, Burzichelli said, eliciting laughter in the standing committee room, where several bills were due to be discussed and voted on.

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Senator Loretta Weinberg, D-Teaneck, professed her utmost consideration for the time of former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan on Monday. The Republican had arrived early at a hearing to urge the health, social services and seniors committee, which Weinberg chairs, to reject a resolution urging Gov. Chris Christie not to join a lawsuit against national reforms of President Obama’s health care.

“I always try to please him, except for the way I vote,” Weinberg teased.


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