Democrats nix Christie's 2nd NJ Supreme Court pick

By ANGELA DELLI SANTI | May 31, 2012 | 3:35 PM EDT

Chatham Mayor Bruce Harris, 61, Gov. Chris Christie's gay black Republican nominee to the New Jersey Supreme Court, answers a question in Trenton, N.J., Thursday, May 31, 2012, as the Democrat-controlled Senate Judiciary panel considers his nomination. New Jersey Democrats rejected the nomination of Harris Thursday by a vote of 7 to 6 after a four-hour hearing. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey Democrats have rejected Gov. Chris Christie's nomination of a gay black Republican mayor to the state Supreme Court.

Morris County Mayor Bruce Harris was turned down Thursday by a vote of 7 to 6 after a four-hour hearing.

It's the same margin by which another Christie nominee, First Assistant Attorney General Phillip Kwon, was voted down two months ago.

Democrats who control the Senate Judiciary Committee questioned Harris' lack of courtroom experience and vow to recuse himself from deciding gay marriage cases.

Harris says his prior support of gay marriage creates a perception that he would be biased on the issue.

The 61-year-old would have been the state's third black justice and the court's first openly gay jurist.

The seven-member Supreme Court is all-white with two vacancies.