Gov. Jon Corzine won a round Monday in his fight to keep private his e-mail exchanges with a state worker union leader he once dated.
A New Jersey appeals court reversed a lower court ruling requiring the e-mails be made public and authorizing a judge to inspect the communications.
The Democratic governor has been fighting to keep the correspondence between himself, his staff and Carla Katz private since the e-mails were requested by a Republican leader and several news organizations, including The Associated Press.
A three-judge appeals panel said the e-mails are covered by executive privilege, which allows officials to withhold certain information in the interest of governing.
An appeal to the state Supreme Court is anticipated.
Attorney General Anne Milgram argued that Corzine would not be able to govern effectively if his private communications were open to the public. A lawyer for the GOP, Mark Sheridan, argued that the public has a right to view e-mails the governor's office and Katz exchanged during state worker contract talks.
Tom Wilson, the Republican state committee chairman, sought disclosure of all e-mails that were not strictly personal or concerning general state business. He questioned whether the state worker contract negotiations were tainted by the relationship between Corzine and Katz.
The two dated before Corzine became governor. She is president of the largest state worker local, Communications Workers of America Local 1034.