New Jersey Family Policy Council On New Jersey Supreme Court Nominee Bruce Harris

marriage-man-womanRecently an email has been circulating around the internet attacking the New Jersey Family Policy Council and its founder Len Deo.  The email accused the council of not taking to task the nomination of Bruce Harris, a homosexual an activist judge who has publicly called for gay marriage in New Jersey.  Here is Mr. Deo’s response to that email which can be read in its entirety at the end of his post.  Welcome to CNJ Mr. Deo.

In an e-mail titled “Governor Christie’s Liberal Activist Judge-where is the NJ Family Policy Council?” the New Jersey Family Policy Council was recently taken to task by an anonymous critic for not expressing more strident opposition to Governor Christie’s homosexual Supreme Court nominee, Bruce Harris. Our opinion on the two nominees emphasized their inexperience, decried the substitution of diversity for real qualifications, and exposed Bruce Harris’s activist leanings. Our supposed ally would have had us focus exclusively on Harris’s evident liberalism and went so far as to suggest that in not doing so, we were violating the reason for our existence. This accusation is preposterous.

Since Harris has no judicial experience and his political feelings about same-sex marriage were to our knowledge only on record in an email, calling him a “liberal activist judge” has no basis in fact. He has never been a judge! Therefore we thought it somewhat unfair to put him on a level with, say, Stephen Reinhardt of 9th Circuit notoriety. He has, however, been a liberal activist. We pointed out that Mr. Harris’s political philosophy would likely carry him away from actual constitutional interpretation, especially on sensitive matters like religion and public policy or same-sex “marriage.” For further analysis we directed our readers to columnist Paul Mulshine, who spelled out the activist implications of Harris’s beliefs in no uncertain terms. But we chose to focus on his judicial inexperience, and we did this emphatically.

We stated that there were likely dozens of people in New Jersey more qualified than Mr. Harris-even if he turned out to be a fine judge.

We cut through the smoke and mirrors of diversity-speak, pointing out that diversity is simply not a qualification when it comes to interpreting laws. Pretending otherwise is an insult to anyone who has real qualifications.

We called for prudence and caution in navigating the shoals of judicial appointments-one of our country’s most politicized procedures.

And we insisted that judicial nominees should go through the hard work of building their reputation by establishing a judicial record-not start at the top and work their way down into other people’s freedoms.

We took this angle because it was the most factual one. We were also embroiled in a battle over same-sex “marriage” in the legislature, which is not a time to try to play both advocate and judge. We had been bombarding our supporter’s in-boxes and we decided at the time to deal with this issue in a regular communication. To our mind there was little use in firing up our supporters’ attention in yet another direction at that time. Finally, there is the matter of respect. We are in regular contact with many members of the legislature; with many we have cordial relationships. One does not simply publish a vitriolic press release against all of these people and expect to be invited back. We prefer to work personally, and if we keep our cards close to the vest, so to speak, that is not for an uninvolved observer to judge.

As to the jab that we merely “mused” about Harris’s shortcomings, the anonymous writer evidently failed to note that we publish “Trenton Musings” every week, in which we analyze state politics in more depth than our bi-weekly e-news. His suggestion of re-titling this publication is kindly noted, but it does not count as evidence that we do not care.

Our critic has so far insisted on remaining anonymous to us. We have taken the trouble to respond to his complaints once but will not feel called upon to do so again unless he comes out and identifies himself. If he truly desires to “Save Marriage NJ,” we would love to work with him. Marriage is too important for us to be shooting our allies in the back.

Len Deo is the Founder and President of the New Jersey Family Policy Council.


This the anonymous email that is being circulated by an organization called

Defend Marriage” NJ

Dear Friends,

You may have heard the news - another group of liberal activist judges in California is trying to redefine marriage.

The danger presented by a liberal activist judge in a high court could not be clearer.

So, why has Governor Christie nominated one to the New Jersey Supreme Court?

And why is the New Jersey Family Policy Council NOT opposing that nomination?

Nearly a month ago, Christie nominated Bruce Harris for our State’s highest court. 

An email authored by Harris quickly surfaced, in which he had used the strongest liberal doctrines possible to urge his legislators to abandon tradition and embrace an invented constitutional right to gay marriage.

Conservative leaders around the country rose up in opposition.  Read what some had to say about Bruce Harris:

Brian Brown, National Organization for Marriage

“[Bruce Harris is] an outspoken advocate of gay marriage who equates traditional views of marriage to slavery. …

“These are not the words of a judicial conservative, a man who believes in common sense, strict construction of the state constitution-in other words, the kind of judge Gov. Christie promised to appoint to the court.

“A man who cannot tell the difference between supporting our traditional understanding of marriage and wanting to enslave a people lacks common sense and judicial temperament.”
Read the entire National Organization for Marriage position stated here and here.

National Review

Harris “is on record as a supporter of same-sex marriage, appears to favor the judicial extension of the legal incidents of marriage to same-sex couples, and believes that legislators whose religious convictions inform their political positions are violating the U.S. Constitution.”
Carrie Severino, General Counsel to the conservative Judicial Crisis Network 

“…the only available evidence of Mr. Harris’ views - an e-mail he sent to support gay marriage - shows him to be anything but a judicial conservative. Granted, there are conservatives who may agree with altering the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples, but the reasons cited by Harris amount to a frontal assault on faith, judicial restraint, and tradition, oozing hostility to religion.”

“While [Bruce Harris's] separationist rhetoric may sound harmless on the surface, in fact it is the basic operating logic of every liberal assault on religious liberty and has been the rallying cry of every effort to force people of faith out of the public square. … Importing a policy of extreme secularism into constitutional law is hardly consistent with what anyone would consider a restrained jurisprudence.

“This is not about Harris’s homosexuality. This is about using government’s monopoly on power to advance a hostile secular agenda that dictates the contours of acceptable religious beliefs, suppressing those beliefs that are contrary to what our wise judges deem acceptable.”

Read the entire Judicial Crisis Network statement here.

And these strong comments came before it was revealed that Harris donated money to Barack Obama and to gay rights groups and political action committees!

Read about the donations to Obama and gay activists here.

National conservative champions like National Organization for Marriage, National Review, and Judicial Crisis Network have stated the clear and overwhelming case against Harris.

In contrast, the NJ Family Policy Council merely “mused” about the nomination of Bruce Harris in the most modest and veiled terms possible:

The NJ-FPC gently suggests that the Harris email “indicates progressive leanings.”

The NJ-FPC supposes that Harris’ support for gay marriage is “potentially problematic.”

The NJ-FPC implies that it may actually “express concern” about Harris - maybe.

Contrast those hazy and equivocating “musings” with the strong calls to action from national conservative defenders:

Brian Brown, National Organization for Marriage

“The next generation of GOP leadership on the national level have to understand: knowingly appointing radical anti-religious justices is unacceptable.

“Please, right now, send Gov. Christie a message to keep him from making a terrible mistake marring his record. Tell Christie: Withdraw the Bruce Harris nomination today. Protect our judiciary from radically unconservative judges with extremist views pushing gay marriage and equating Christianity with slavery.”

Maggie Gallagher, National Review Online

“This is a potentially huge red flag for those who see Christie as the future of the conservative movement. Can he be trusted to care enough to appoint judicial conservatives? Will Governor Christie stand by this kind of judicial appointment, or will he admit that mistakes were made in the vetting process and withdraw the nomination?”

Carrie Severino, General Council to the conservative Judicial Crisis Network

“After a very promising start, Christie has disheartened conservatives by going back on his word with his recent nominations to the state supreme court. 

“Exhibit A is Bruce Harris who Christie just nominated to New Jersey’s highest court from what appears to be a great desire to check some diversity boxes. There are two possible explanations, neither flattering to Governor Christie. The governor’s office was either astoundingly incompetent in vetting Harris, or Christie has quite resoundingly betrayed his campaign promises….

“If this is how he approaches judicial nominees, Governor Christie has failed in a fundamental duty as governor.”

Clearly, these national leaders get it.  Why isn’t the NJ Family Policy Council getting it?

These national leaders stood up for conservatives.  Why does the NJ Family Policy Council seem to be lying down?

Worse yet, by lying down on the Harris nomination, the NJ Family Policy Council is essentially greenlighting Republican Senators to vote Yes on the Harris nomination.
Why is the NJ Family Policy Council not calling on supposedly conservative Senators Bucco and Pennacchio to use their power to block the nomination under senatorial courtesy - while there is still time?

Why is the NJ Family Policy Council not calling for the Governor to withdraw the Harris nomination?

Why has the NJ Family Policy Council not even asked publicly for any Senator to VOTE NO?

“We’re too busy” can’t be an acceptable excuse, especially when the NJ Family Policy Council can stake out opposition in a simple and short statement of unequivocal opposition to Harris and a call for withdrawal of the nomination.

The time to fight is NOW, and time is running out.  The NJ Family Policy Council was created for such a time as this.  This is one of its reasons for being.

NJ Family Policy Council, do what you know is right and what conservative leaders across the country already are doing.  Oppose the Harris nomination, call on Senators Bucco and Pennacchio to block it NOW while they still can and on other Senators to vote No, and call on the Governor to withdraw a bad nomination before it is too late.

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