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Failed Court Nominees Land Public Sector Jobs
Both of Gov. Chris Christies recently rejected nominees to the state Supreme Court Bruce Harris and Phillip Kwon have been hired to fill two public sector jobs.
The New Jersey Turnpike Authority on Tuesday hired Harris as its new general counsel. The move comes after last weeks decision by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to hire Kwon, the former first assistant attorney general, to be its deputy general counsel.
Harris is being paid $165,000 a year and Kwons post pays a salary of $215,000.
Had they been appointed to the Supreme Court, they would have been paid $185,482 a year.
The Senate Judiciary Committee declined to confirm the nominations, Harris on May 31 and Kwon on March 22, in 7-6 votes.
Democrats, who make up the majority, cited Harris' lack of legal experience and the fact that he had not made partner at either firm where he worked, Greenberg Traurig in Florham Part and before that Riker, Danzig, Scherer, Hyland & Perretti in Morristown.
As for Kwon, they were concerned about his mother's liquor-store business having paid $160,000 to settle federal government claims of improper cash deposits.
Christie has said the two were spurned for political reasons and that Democrats are still angry over his decision to not nominate Justice John Wallace Jr., a Democrat, for tenure.
Harris, the Republican mayor of Chatham, would have become the court's first openly gay justice. Kwon, an independent formerly registered as a Republican in New York State, would have become the courts first Asian-American justice.
At Port Authority, Kwon is replacing former Attorney General Paula Dow, who held the deputy general counsel post for several months before being appointed to the Superior Court bench in Burlington County.