Ethics Hero: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie

Earlier this year, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie had come under fire from  conservative bloggers for appointing Sohail Mohammed, an American attorney who also happens to be a Muslim, to a seat on the Passaic County Superior Court.

Mohammed was confirmed by the state legislature and sworn into office last week. The Newark Star-Ledger noted in an editorial that Mohammed came to the US— legally— as a teenager in 1980, and became a lawyer for all the right reasons. It was, for him, a calling. He built a reputation as a zealous, honest and dedicated lawyer.  Yesterday, Gov. Christie defended his choice, especially against criticism for representing Muslims detained under suspicion of terrorist links in the wake of the attacks on September 11, 2001. His most quoted passage:

“It’s just crazy, and I’m tired of dealing with the crazies. It’s just unnecessary to be accusing this guy of things just because of his religious background. I’m happy that he’s willing to serve after all this baloney.”

In sharp contrast to many in the Republican Party and on the political right, Christie is courageously displaying his full-throated support of religious freedom, opposition to bigotry, the right to zealous representation, and respect for professionals who do their jobs well, whatever their names or ethnic origin.

He is an easy call as an Ethics Hero.