TRENTON – The Senate approved Gov. Chris Christie’s first appointee to the N.J. Supreme Court, Anne Patterson of Mendham Township.
Reading the nomination, Judicial Committee Chairman Nick Scuatari (D-22) said Patterson will not take her seat on the court until departing Justice Roberto Rivera-Soto leaves his post voluntarily this fall.
Patterson’s nomination passed, 36-0. State Sen. Andy Ciesla (R-10) was absent and state Sen. Brian Stack (D-33) was not in the room at the time of the vote.
State Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D-20) has been consistent in voting against Patterson’s nomination due to the lack of racial diversity on the court since Christie did not give tenure to Justice John Wallace, the only African American judge on the court, last year.
State Sen. Fred Madden (D-4) also abstained from the vote due to Wallace’s non-renewal, with Wallace’s son sitting by his side in the chamber.
“It’s been a tremendous honor for me,” Patterson said. “I will do my very best to be worthy of the confidence that you’ve shown to me this evening.”
Along with some Democratic lawmakers, state Sen. Kevin O’Toole (R-40), who missed Patterson’s nomination hearing for family reasons, spoke well of the nominee. “This is the type of person that we as lawyers, taxpayers want to embrace,” he said.
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"Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, a Hudson County Democrat, is balking. He claimed Tuesday that members of his caucus are divided over the measure and that his house is in no real rush – besides, even if enacted this year, the reforms would not take effect until 2017, he said. And with the growing belief that Christie could skip town to run for president, some Democrats are not eager to give him another talking point for his résumé. Christie’s plans to stump for Republican candidates in New Hampshire later Thursday only fuel that suspicion." - columnist Charles Stile- The Bergen Record
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