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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"During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die."- Nelson Mandela
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