Judges for a judge

In Gov. Chris Christie’s ongoing battle to get his state Supreme Court nominee a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Christie has for the second time threatened to shelve all reappointments to the state Superior Court until Anne Patterson is heard, sources have told PolitickerNJ.

In a threat that seems to only have been floated for a few days, Christie’s agents apparently said no Superior Court judges would be re-appointed until the Senate moved on Patterson, sources said.

State Sen. President Steve Sweeney, (D-3), of West Deptford, has been holding his ground on holding off Patterson until 2012.
Michael Drewniak, spokesman for Christie, said yesterday that the accusation was entirely false, and a source on the story reported today that Christie has since reneged on the threat.

One of the seven judges up for reappointment before the summer legislative break is Richard Freed, husband of Assemblywoman Nellie Pou, (D-35), of Haledon.

Last year, Christie made the unprecedented move of not renewing the tenure of  Supreme Court Justice John Wallace.  Christie had said in the past his goal was to remove what he called activist judges from the bench.

The governor nominated Patterson to replace Wallace, but Democrats have refused to hear ner nomination until 2012, when Wallace was scheduled to retire.

One democratic source said the threat was floated once before – at the beginning of the wrangling over Paterson – but the governor did not follow through.

Sources said Superior Court vacancies could have approached 50 by the end of the year if Christie followed through and civil cases, especially, and the whole state judicial process, in general, would have ground to a halt.