Gov. Chris Christie

  • February 25, 2015

    by Caroline Cox

    Katrina vanden Heuvel writes in The Washington Post that there is reason to hope for significant criminal justice reform

    In USA Today, Richard Wolf explains the religious discrimination case against retailor Abercrombie & Fitch, which asks to the Supreme Court to consider whether job applicants must ask for religious accommodations or the employer should recognize the need for them.

    David Welna reports for NPR on how the Senate Intelligence Committee report on the CIA interrogation and detention techniques has changed arguments for terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay.

    Scott Dodson discusses Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her impact on the Supreme Court and modern jurisprudence at Hamilton and Griffin on Rights.

    In The New York Times, Katie Zernike reports on a New Jersey judge’s ruling that Governor Chris Christie broke the law by not making full pension payments.

    Mark Joseph Stern takes a look in Slate at new plans from state legislatures to tackle the problem of rape on college campuses.

  • June 3, 2013

    by John Schachter

    When I was in eighth grade in 1978, my social studies teacher, Mr. Stoba, asked the class how long does a U.S. senator serve. While he was looking for the more straight-forward answer, “six years,” I had a slightly different view. It being New Jersey, I answered, “It depends on his crime.” But within five years our state had cleaned up its act to a large degree with Bill Bradley and Frank Lautenberg honorably and honestly representing us in the U.S. Senate.

    The death of Senator Frank Lautenberg today has already gotten caught up in the latest political theater. Whom will Republican Gov. Chris Christie appoint as an interim replacement? Might he seriously consider appointing a Democrat (even Cory Booker)? Or will he tack to the far right in an attempt to burnish his credentials with the Tea Party wing of the GOP who have more sway when it comes to the 2016 presidential race?

    But before we fall completely into the political morass of New Jersey politics, let’s pause to pay tribute to this unlikely public servant. I had the good fortune of voting for Lautenberg in 1982, his first time on the ballot and my first time casting a vote in an election, having turned 18 that year. Two summers later I served as an intern for the senator in his Washington D.C. office and got to see up close how this dedicated public servant, who had amassed enough of a personal fortune over the years to not have to work another day in his life, took on entrenched interests and tackled seemingly intractable problems – sometimes with a prickly personality that yielded results if not friends in Congress.

    Frank Lautenberg is responsible more than any other single individual for the ban on smoking on airplanes that most people take for granted today. (Can anyone under the age of 35 even imagine there was a time not that long ago when people could smoke on planes?) The subsequent restrictions on smoking in public places and the stricter labeling restrictions on cigarettes also owe their existence to the dogged efforts of this former smoker.

    Efforts to prevent gun violence – from keeping guns out of the hands of convicted domestic abusers to fighting to eliminate high-capacity ammunition magazines – are the result of Lautenberg’s hard work and dedication. And this New Jerseyan built a strong pro-environment record in a state long plagued by environmental challenges.

    Long before he even entered politics Lautenberg accrued an impressive record of personal achievement. He worked nights and weekends while still a teenager to help support his family following his father’s death from cancer. He enlisted in the Army Signal Corps and served in Europe during World War II then, thanks to the GI Bill, attended and graduated from college before starting a company that earned him millions. Perhaps most proudly, he garnered a spot on Richard Nixon’s enemies list thanks to his fundraising for George McGovern’s 1972 presidential campaign.

  • March 1, 2012

    by Jeremy Leaming

    Inching closer to ending one of the nation’s inequalities, Maryland, as its governor had promised to do, enacted marriage equality legislation earlier this evening, joining seven states and the District of Columbia, though the progress comes with the reality that forces are seeking to scuttle it.

    Andrew Sullivan in a “42 to Go,” blog post notes reader comment and media coverage on the latest victory for equality, while noting that in New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie’s punting of civil rights to the whims of the majority in a referendum this fall, may, at the end of the day, provide some sense of success to what otherwise were shrewd, yet likely crass political tactics, though maybe not by Sullivan. “If marriage equality wins,” he wrote, Christie “can say democracy worked, while touting his veto to the fundamentalist base ….”

    Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley (pictured) in signing the Civil Marriage Protection Act of 2012 into law, which he sponsored and actively campaigned for, hit some of the right notes for battling one of the inequalities that confront the LGBT community, including those living with HIV, saying, for instance:

    For a free and diverse people,… for a people of many faiths,… for a people committed to the principle of religious freedom,… the way forward is always to be found through greater respect for the equal rights of all; for the human dignity of all.

    Like the newly enacted marriage equality law in Washington, enacted by Gov. Chris Gregoire (D), Maryland’s same-sex marriage law is facing opposition from religious right groups, primarily. They are working to put the newly gained equalities before the voters.

    And to see a compelling response to Gov. Christie’s punt on civil liberties, see Newark Mayor Cory Booker’s thoughts here.

  • February 20, 2012

    by Jeremy Leaming

    While some lawmakers and politicians are working to end a few of the nation’s inequalities, like the one centering on the right of gays and lesbians to wed, others are keeping up the ignoble work of trying to hobble or defeat efforts to advance equality.

    For example, in many of the states where marriage equality is advancing, special interest groups have mounted, or in the midst of doing so, campaigns to ensure that government recognition of marriage belongs exclusively to men and women.

    After Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire enacted marriage equality legislation, social conservatives promised to gather enough signatures to place the newly gained civil liberty before the voters. N.J. Gov. Chris Christie has endorsed placing civil liberties before the voters when he vetoed a bill allowing lesbians and gays to wed. (Newark, N.J. Mayor Cory Booker took issue with Christie’s tactic, saying equal rights should never be placed before the whims of the majority.)

    Religious right groups are also promising to topple the effort by Maryland to allow same-sex marriage. The Maryland Marriage Alliance, which calls itself a an “interfaith coalition dedicated” to keeping marriage an exclusive institution, has promised to launch a petition movement to place the law before voters, provided it passes the Maryland Senate and is signed by Gov. Martin O’Malley, both highly likely. The Maryland Senate passed a similar measure last year, and O’Malley (pictured) has said he would sign the new measure. The governor has also upped his involvement this time around – he’s sponsoring the equality legislation that is moving through the legislature.

    Following the approval last week by the Md. House of Delegates, O’Malley applauded the outcome, saying the chamber had “voted for human dignity.”

    The marriage alliance, a gathering of primarily evangelical Christian groups, issued a press statement decrying the House’s vote as undermining the exclusive definition of marriage and noting, “thankfully,” that the state “allows for a referendum process by a people’s vote, and we are committed, if needed, to bring this issue to the vote of the people of Maryland.”

    Like the law enacted last year in New York, the Maryland marriage equality measure includes a provision granting an exemption for houses of worship to refuse to marry lesbians and gays. The Maryland Senate is expected, The Washington Post reports, to promptly take up the equality bill. The newspaper says the senate’s Judicial Proceedings Committee and the full chamber “quickly could approve the bill” with the possibility of sending it to O’Malley by week’s end. The state is moving quickly to become the eighth one to allow lesbians and gays to wed, joining Washington, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Iowa. The District of Columbia also recognizes same-sex marriage.

  • February 16, 2012

    by Jeremy Leaming

    New Jersey lawmakers, in historic fashion, advanced equality, by voting to allow lesbians and gay men to wed. As The Star-Ledger notes it was the first time the Assembly “had ever voted on the measure.”

    It also follows this week’s action in Washington, where Gov. Chris Gregoire enacted a marriage equality law. That state joined New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, Iowa and Washington, D.C. in supporting same-sex marriages. Not surprisingly, Religious Right activists are vowing to topple the Washington law, by placing it before voters.

    In New Jersey, Republican Gov. Chris Christie (pictured) has said he would veto the marriage equality bill. He says civil liberties of lesbians and gay men should be placed before voters. The Star-Ledger says the veto may happen today.

    Still, supporters of marriage equality celebrated the vote. Assemblyman Reed Gusciara (D-Mercer) said “this is probably one of the highlights of my legislative tenure – no matter what the ultimate outcome may be.”

    The Maryland legislature is also considering a marriage equality measure. Maryland Gov. Marin O’Malley, unlike Christie, is supporting equality. After Washington lawmakers approved its marriage equality bill, O’Malley issued a statement saying, in part, “It is time for Maryland to do the same.”