New Jersey Lawyer's Bob Seidenstein is reporting that Governor Jon Corzine will elevate Associate Justice Virginia Long to replace James Zazzali as Chief Justice. Seidenstein lists state Public Advocate Ronald Chen as her replacement.
Last year, Corzine named Zazzali as Chief Justice when Deborah Poritz reached the mandatory retirment age of seventy. Zazzali must step down when he turns seventy in October. There had been considerable speculation that Attorney General Stuart Rabner would be the next Chief Justice; by naming Long, who turns seventy in 2012, Corzine would still have the option of sending Rabner to the top court — if he is re-elected to a second term.
Long served as state Banking Commissioner under Governor Brendan Byrne, and was appointed to the Superior Court by Governor Thomas Kean.
Chen would become the first Asian-American to serve on the New Jersey Supreme Court.