NJ gov picks gay black man, Asian for top court

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Gov. Chris Christie moved to diversify the state's all-white Supreme Court on Monday with two firsts: the nominations of an openly gay black man and a Korean-born prosecutor to fill two vacancies.

If confirmed, Bruce A. Harris would become New Jersey's first openly gay justice, and Phillip H. Kwon would become its first Asian representative and the first justice born outside the United States.

Christie, a Republican, said he had "extreme confidence" in the records and intellects of his nominees, neither of whom has been a judge.

"I felt strongly about making sure the court have diversity but first and foremost that the court have quality justices who make sure they take the court in a direction that is a responsible one for the future of our state and its people," Christie said at a news conference attended by the nominees and their families.

Harris, 61, is the Republican mayor of Chatham Borough in Morris County, a post Christie said he would give up if confirmed. He would be the third African-American to be seated on the court.

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