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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Opposing Bruce Harris Nomination To NJ Supreme Court

Bruce Harris, a career finance lawyer with no courtroom experience, has been nominated by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie for a seven year term on the state's highest court.  My prepared testimony before the State Senate Judiciary Committee follows:

My name is Eric Dixon.  I have been a New Jersey resident and member of our State Bar since 1996.  I am here today to speak in opposition to the nomination of Mr. Harris.  My reason is simple: his professional credentials mirror my own, and I would never purport to be qualified to be a Supreme Court Justice.


Both Mr. Harris and I graduated from Yale Law School. He graduated in 1992.  I graduated in 1994.  Both of us became transactional attorneys.  But that's where the similarities end.  The differences in what we did with our education will show that Mr. Harris is not yet qualified to be a Supreme Court Justice.


During every stage of an attorney's career we have opportunities to get courtroom experience, whether it is through pro bono work or one's own business generation.  When I was a junior attorney doing public offerings and venture capital, I worked at firms which did not give me the chance to go to court; for that I had to take my own initiative.   During my career I have represented about two dozen candidates as an election lawyer – several of which I represented in court and won cases to keep them on the ballot.  I have investigated complex frauds, negotiated complex transactions and become an advocate and regular commentator on constitutional and policy issues. 


We don't hear Mr. Harris doing any of these things to develop courtroom experience or a constitutional philosophy. He is, according to my research, a cipher, saying nothing on the record on those issues. While I have more courtroom experience than Mr. Harris, I would never claim that I am prepared to be a judge, even if the Christie Administration considered me qualified. Bruce Harris is a smart and highly educated man, but he is not ready to sit on the Supreme Court.   

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