Christie's Court

Gov. Christie's first nominee to the Supreme Court, Anne Patterson, is about to go before the Democratic-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee for her first hearing. Patterson was nominated more than a year ago, so this was a long time coming.

Patterson is a corporate lawyer who might have a tough go of it. At a press conference this morning, a consortium of Democratic-leaning groups blasted Patterson for the clients she has represented: gun manufacturers, lead paint companies and tobacco corporations, to name three.

Anne Patterson

"I don't think she has any idea what it's like to live in a city where guns are so easy to get," said Shaheed Brown, 27, a former Newark gang member who came to the press conference to share his experiences. Brown has a handgun tattooed to his left forearm, and says that he had his first gun at the age of 12. Guns, he said, are far too pervasive -- and gun manufacturers are partly responsible for that. 

I wrote about Patterson's client list, here, in Monday's paper. In one case from the early 1990s she represented the Cherry Hill Mall against the New Jersey Coalition Against War in the Middle East, which the mall had blocked from distributing leaflets during the first Gulf War. She lost the case. Her closing arguments were reflective of other legal arguments she made in other cases in support of business:

[War protesters] seek the right to approach and to interrupt shoppers, to stop someone when he goes from here to here with buying shoes on his mind, and offer him a letter, a leaflet and they seek thereby to interfere with the commercial purpose.

And a challenge, they challenge the malls' right to preclude literature and groups which would be offensive to the shoppers.

They challenge the malls' right to, for example, as one of my clients did, stop animal rights groups from putting up a poster that would be I think objectively grotesque and upsetting to shoppers.

They seek to have the right, they seek the right for the K.K.K. and the American Nazi Party to come into the malls.

They seek to impose an obligation on the malls to allow in groups and literature that would be offensive.