New Jersey Senate President Stephen Sweeney and Chief Justice Stuart Rabner have decried Gov. Chris Christie's decision not to reappoint Justice John Wallace to the state Supreme Court. They cite the importance of "process" and "custom," suggesting that the governor's decision threatens the court's integrity. Are they being principled, or simply masking politics as usual?
Test their sincerity and motives with a thought experiment: Imagine that President Obama could, and did, replace U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, a believer in the jurisprudence of original understanding and a sharply limited role for the judiciary, with someone who shared his own, broader approach to constitutional interpretation and vision of the courts as agents of social change — someone like Sonia Sotomayor or, indeed, John Wallace.