Bruce Harris, the African-American openly-gay Republican mayor of Chatham in New Jersey, narrowly missed appointment to New Jersey's Supreme Court.
Democrats voted against his nomination citing his lack of courtroom experience and his willingness to recuse himself in court cases dealing with same-sex marriage.
More after the jump.
Harris' nomination was denied by a slim 7-6 margin, though two Democrats did cross party lines in support of Harris.
Nia Gill, the vice chairwoman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said she was particularly concerned about Harris' willingness to recuse himself.
Harris was nominated by Republican Governor Chris Christie, who vetoed approved marriage equality legislation. Harris has promised to recuse himself in cases dealing with marriage equality, citing his previous advocacy in favor of same-sex marriage as a conflict or bias.
Gill said, "I believe your recusal was political in order to get the job. What if Thurgood Marshall had [offered to recuse himself] from civil rights cases?"
Harris defended his recusal stance and denied he was under pressure from Gov. Christie, saying "My decision to recuse myself on same-sex marriage only, was not a political calculus. I want to be clear. Each time I was interviewed by the governor's staff or the governor, same-sex marriage came up because I brought it up."
Democrats also argued that Harris, a public finance attorney, lacks courtroom experience and noted his failure to make partner in two large law firms. Harris explained that his research of the 1947 state constitutional convention showed that judges do not need to be versed in all areas of law.
This is Gov. Christie's second judicial nominee this year that has failed to receive the committee's approval.
What do you think, Instincters? Was Harris right to recuse himself from same-sex marriage cases? Were Democrats wrong for blocking his nomination?