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[From the Left: Phillip Kwon, Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno, Governor Chris Christie, Bruce Harris (AP)]

On January 23, 2012, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie nominated Phillip H. Kwon as Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court. Kwon was born in Korea and now resides in Closter, NJ.

Kwon is the first Asian American, and the first person born ourside the US to be nominated as a Supreme Court Justice. Kwon is 44 years old, studied history at Georgetown University, and studied law at Rutgers Law School.

The Asian American community in New Jersey welcomes this news. Korean American Voters’ Council President Dongchan Kim stated, “According to the 2010 Census, Asians compose 9% of New Jersey’s population. For an Asian to be nominated in respect to the population, this means a lot to us. We welcome this news.”

Phillip H. Kwon currently works as the First Deputy Attorney General, and worked with Governor Christie in the Courts for over 10 years. Kwon specialized in drug crimes and serious offenses. The legal community rated him high for his demeanor and work habits and commented that this will be a crucial step in the advancement of New Jersey Courts.

New Jersey Supreme Court is formed of seven justices. The justice must be nominated by the Governor and approved by the State Senate. The first term lasts for seven years. If approved for the second term, the justice will be in office until he or she is 70 years old.

On the same day, Governor Christie nominated Bruce Harris, a black American to the Supreme Court justice position as well. Harris is 61 years old and he is the first gay nominee.

KOREAN AMERICAN CIVIC EMPOWERMENT
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