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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"Christie’s method for coping with scandal has been more complicated. In January, the seemingly-local issue of lane closings on the George Washington Bridge, which created a massive traffic jam in the Hudson River town of Fort Lee, became one of national interest when it was revealed that one of Christie’s closest staffers had ordered them—for what looked like political retribution against a Democratic mayor. The scandal was quickly dubbed 'Bridgegate,' and unfortunately for Christie, it played into his reputation as a bully. Christie's response was to act unlike himself: humble." - Olivia Nuzzi- The Daily Beast
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