As expected, Gov. Jon Corzine will renominate Barry Albin as an Associate Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court. Albin, a former partner at a politically influential Middlesex County law firm, was orginally appointed to the post by Gov. James E. McGreevey in 2002. If he is confirmed by the Senate, he can remain on the top court until he reaches the age of seventy in 2022.
Republicans have already requested that Senate Judiciary Chairman Paul Sarlo (D-Wood-Ridge) set aside at least three full days for hearings on the Albin confirmation. Some GOP Senators have hinted that they will oppose Albin, whom they have criticized for decisions on school funding formulas and other issues. A letter Sent by Republican Senators last January says that "a more exacting review of the person's qualifications is necessary and justified." The GOP asked for copies of all decisions authored by Albin and summaries of cases he was involved in.
The renomination of Albin and other Supreme Court Justices has already become an issue in the Republican gubernatorial primary. Former Bogota Mayor Steven Lonegan has said he would oppose the reappointment of any sitting Justice, while former U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie has promised a full examination of a judicial record after an initial seven-year term.
Under the current State Constitution, no sitting Justice has been denied reappointment or confirmation. Chief Justice Robert Wilentz barely survived in 1986, winning Senate confirmation by a narrow 21-19 margin. Peter Verniero, whose renomination was viewed as potentially problematic, saw the handwriting on the wall and resigned before the end of his first seven-year term.