New Brunswick lawyer Martin Perez will become the second Latino member of Rutgers University’s Board of Governors, ending the latest scuffle between Gov. Chris Christie and state Senate Democrats over gubernatorial appointments, the governor announced today.
Christie first nominated Perez to the Rutgers board in May 2011, but his appointment was put on hold by state Sen. Robert Smith (D-Middlesex), who blocked Perez’s nomination using a maneuver known as senatorial courtesy.
The practice allows state senators who live in the same county as gubernatorial appointees to block their nominations without giving a reason. Smith has said previously he had concerns about Perez’s suitability for the board, but would not elaborate.
Christie blamed Senate Democrats for "playing politics" with this nomination and hundreds of other gubernatorial appointments he has made since his election in 2009, but said today during a speech in New Brunswick that Perez is "highly qualified" and a good addition to a board of mostly white men.