07/01/2014 11:30 am ET Updated Jul 01, 2014

Chris Christie Won't Comment On Supreme Court Cases -- But He Blasted One Last Year

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) had plenty of words about the Supreme Court case that limited access to birth control coverage on Tuesday, but none of them carried any meaning as to his thoughts about the controversial issue.

"Who knows?" the pro-life governor said on CNBC's "Squawk Box."

The potential 2016 presidential contender portrayed himself as master of fair-mindedness by arguing that, in his role as executive, he ought to remain impartial once the judiciary ruled on a particular issue.

"The fact is that when you're an executive, your Supreme Court makes a ruling and you've got to live with it unless you can get the legislative body to change the law or change the Constitution. The point is: Why should I give an opinion as to whether they were right or wrong? At the end of the day, they did what they did. That's now the law of the land," he said.

But Christie wasn't so stone-faced when it came to other rulings by the Supreme Court.

When the justices struck down a crucial section of the Defense of Marriage Act last year, Christie blasted them as "wrong" and "insulting" for reaching such a “bad decision" that he called an example of “judicial supremacy.”

"[Justice Kennedy] basically said that the only reason to pass that bill was to demean people," Christie said. "That’s heck of a thing to say about Bill Clinton and about the Republican Congress back in the ‘90s. And it’s just another example of judicial supremacy, rather than having the government run by the people we actually vote for."

Christie even went so far to challenge a New Jersey Supreme Court ruling that struck down the state's gay marriage ban following the DOMA decision.

Conservatives, including Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) -- all potential Christie rivals -- hailed Monday's ruling on contraception as a victory for "religious freedom" under the First Amendment. Democrats, including the White House, are considering legislative remedies to a ruling they say "jeopardizes the health of women" employed by closely held companies.

Yet in his interview on Tuesday, Christie, who governs an overwhelmingly Democratic state, said he didn't want to get "bogged down" on the issue.

"You know what? I don't think that's the most central issue that we need to talk about this morning when you look at the challenges that face our country," he said. "And if I allow people to put me into that box? Then shame on me; I'm not a good politician, I'm not a good leader."

Choosing to fight on gay marriage and not on birth control, an issue particularly dear to women voters, could be the biggest sign yet of a Christie candidacy come 2016.



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