New Jersey Governor Chris Christie

Much to the dismay of students, faculty, and alumni, the Camden campus of Rutgers University School of Law will soon be merging with Rowan University — and doing away with the Rutgers name. Up until now, our coverage of the pending merger has been limited to Morning Docket entries. But last night, during a town hall meeting held by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, the debate got interesting.

In what is being referred to as “the most-heated town hall clash of the year,” Christie reportedly got into a shouting match with a current Rutgers Law – Camden student. Harsh words were exchanged, and the scene ended with the law student being escorted from the meeting by police.

Who is this law student, and what was said? Let’s delve into the details….

William Brown, a former Navy SEAL, is a handsome second-year law student at Rutgers School of Law – Camden, and he is a vehement opponent of the proposed Rutgers/Rowan merger. Although Christie told law students present at the town hall meeting that they would be able to graduate from law school with a Rutgers degree, Brown was not satisfied with Christie’s reassurances. He was concerned about future students’ ability to graduate with the highly-regarded Rutgers name.

And so, like any law student from Jersey would do, Brown began to interrupt the governor — repeatedly. The Philadelphia Inquirer has information on what happened next:

“Listen, pal, I sat here and listened to your story and your position…and if you decide what you want to do is put on a show today, let me tell you something, I can go back and forth with you as much as you want,” Christie said.

Christie said not everyone at Rutgers is against the merger, and he was “providing opportunities for a bigger and better university.”

Brown yelled: “Nobody at Rutgers wants it, nobody in South Jersey!”

It’s good to know that Chris Christie can go back and forth as much as he wants during a debate. Maybe that’s something that he can tout in his inevitable 2016 presidential run.

But can the governor handle it when a constituent disagrees with him? Not so fast. Christie attempted to move on, calling for another question. Not one for mincing words, he dropped this gem on the Rutgers Law student before the next question came:

“And let me tell you something,” Christie said, his voice rising. “If after you graduate from law school you conduct yourself like that in a courtroom, your rear end’s going to be thrown in jail, idiot.”

Holy crap. That’s got to be pretty embarrassing. William Brown is going to go down in history as the guy who got called an idiot by a man who some people have accused of being an even bigger one. Here’s a video of the incident (the verbal beatdown begins at 1:10):

According to the Statehouse Bureau, Brown thought Christie’s response was “totally inappropriate.” I do, too. Readers, what do you think? Should the governor have called this law student an idiot?

Former Navy SEAL booted from Gov. Christie town hall after heated exchange [Statehouse Bureau]
Debating Rutgers merger, Christie gets into shouting match with an ‘idiot’ [Philadelphia Inquirer]
Student confronts NJ gov over schools merger plan [Associated Press]


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