State senators will hold appointment and reappointment hearings for about two dozen Superior Court judges by the end of the month, and that’s something legislators should be proud of, says one Senate lawmaker.
Sen. Nicholas Scutari, (D-22), referred to the hearings as somewhat of a milestone, saying the upcoming legislative reviews – including two this coming week – mark significant progress between Democratic lawmakers and a Republican executive.
The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee says officials are making progress on appointments “that really affect citizens’ daily lives.”
“We think it’s something we’ll be able to be proud of,” Scutari said.
“I think it represents a significant breakthrough in the judicial nomination process,” he said, adding that there’s been “lots and lots of conversations” between him and the governor’s office on moving the nominations through the Legislature.
But despite what Scutari calls progress in the upper chamber, Gov. Chris Christie has often directly criticized the lawmaker for failing to take action on two Supreme Court nominees.
The governor’s office has recently stepped up pressure on senators to force him and Democratic lawmakers to put Robert Hanna and David Bauman before the review committee.
However, when asked if the progress would translate to movement on confirming Christie’s two high court nominees, Scutari stressed the importance of taking immediate action on nominations that deal directly with issues that require constant attention in the courtroom.
“The Supreme Court is operating at full strength. They have seven judges every day,” he said.
“Not that it’s not important,” Scutari added, “but the Superior Court level is extremely important.”
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"Enlisting Fox is another reminder of how much Christie has truly relied on insiders, including Democrats, to bolster his agenda or bail him out of trouble. Not long after arriving in Trenton in 2009, Christie began collaborating with George Norcross, the deeply entrenched Democratic Party kingmaker, to help him cut deals with a Democratic-controlled Legislature.
When his close ally David Samson resigned as chairman of the Port Authority over conflict-of-interest questions earlier this year, Christie replaced Samson with John Degnan, a pillar of the Democratic Party establishment. And now, confronted with a crisis, Christie has turned to “Jamie,’’ as Fox has been known throughout political circles since he began as an aide in the Democratic Senate in the 1980s." - columnist Charles Stile
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