Friday, January 6, 2012
This week I started my third straight presidential election season as the political analyst for WXTV Channel 41 here in the New York Metro area. It was fun chatting about the results of the Iowa Caucuses with Enrique Teutelo. I'm really looking forward to another great campaign season with Univision.
It's no secret that U.S. Senator Bob Menendez and Governor Chris Christie aren't close friends. The two are among the most powerful politicos in New Jersey and, as is often the case in New Jersey, end up fighting one another through proxies. That kind of Cold War low-intensity conflict has now put Menendez at odds with...President Obama. According to a story in today's New York Times, Menendez has refused to give the green light to the nomination of Judge Patty Shwartz to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. Why? It turns out that while Judge Shwartz is considered an able jurist by her peers, her choice of companions is not to the Senator's liking. Since the 1980s, Judge Shwartz has been in a relationship with James Nobile. The same James Nobile that led Chris Christie's anti-public corruption efforts when the Governor was the US Attorney for New Jersey. You might recall that Nobile spearheaded an investigation into the ties between Menendez and a local Hudson County non-profit. The investigation into the Senator's relationship with North Hudson Community Action Corporation (NHCAC) came to light just as Menendez was gearing up for a campaign against Tom Kean, Jr. While the investigation into the Senator's relationship with NHCAC didn't turn up anything, the timing of the investigation enraged Menendez. Fast forward a few years and now Menendez finds himself in the unique position of being able to punish Nobile by withholding support for Shwartz. We'll see just how long this last before the White House begins to pressure Menendez to relent and let Judge Shwartz's nomination move forward.
Senator Menendez pushed back yesterday against the stories in the New York Times and the Star Ledger regarding his opposition to the appointment of Judge Patty Shwartz to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. " “It is incredibly disappointing and unfortunate that my real concerns over the suitability of Judge Shwartz to serve a lifetime appointment as circuit court judge have been spun as some petty political vendetta by some of her supporters,” Menendez said in a statement to POLITICO.