Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Christie to nominate Chief Justice Rabner for tenure on NJ Supreme Court |

New Jersey Chief Justice Stuart Rabner
In  major victory for the Bar, the Democratic majority in the New Jersey Senate has compelled Gov. Chris Christie to abandon his plan to radically re-make the New Jersey Supreme Court.  In a deal that preserves the court's 4-3 partisan composition (4 R, 3 D) the Governor will nominate the 53 year old moderate Democrat Chief Justice Stuart Rabner, fill one vacancy with a choice of Christie's, and leave in place a temporarily assigned Appellate Division judge Mary Catherine Cuff.
Throughout his tenure the composition of the Supreme Court and its liberal legacy has been a source of contention as Christie fought to use his five opportunities to transform the high court.  Although the court has slipped to the right - particularly on product liability and criminal justice - there will be no repudiation of its progressive legacy on school funding and open housing.
The State Bar Association has led a high profile campaign to repudiate Christie's ideologically-driven refusal to nominate for tenure a justice whose philosophy was not his.  Associate Justice Helen Hoens, one who did share his views, was sacrificed for political expediency in an unexplained deal with Senate President Stephen Sweeney, a construction union leader who has been willing to swing deals with the Governor that appeal to conservative Democrats, like increasing judges' pension and insurance contributions, and cutting back on public employee benefits. - GWC
Christie to nominate Chief Justice Rabner for tenure on NJ Supreme Court |
By Matt Friedman and Salvador Rizzo/The Star-Ledger
TRENTON — Gov. Chris Christie today will re-nominate Stuart Rabner as chief justice of the state Supreme Court, The Star-Ledger has learned.
The development is a breakthrough in negotiations between Christie and state Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester), who had been locked in a battle over New Jersey’s highest court for years, and a victory for Sweeney.
According to three sources with knowledge of the agreement, Rabner — who has been chief justice since 2007 — will be nominated by Christie for tenure, and serve until he reaches the mandatory retirement age of 70 in 2030.
Christie, in turn, will get to nominate with Sweeney's support a close ally to one of two vacant seats on the court: Superior Court Judge Lee Solomon, a Republican who previously served as president of the Board of Public Utilities.

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