Albin passes committee 9-4

The much-anticipated confirmation hearing of Barry Albin just ended with Albin’s renomination for tenure to the state Supreme Court approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee by a vote of nine to four.

The vote was mostly along party lines, with Democrats voting in the affirmative and Republicans in the negative. One Republican – state Sen. Christopher Bateman (R-Branchburg) – voted yes.

The state Senate will vote to confirm Albin on Thursday.

Despite speculation during the run up to the hearing, it was relatively tame. Albin faced a lot of tough questions from Republicans – mostly, as expected, about decisions on school funding and affordable housing – but there were not many tense moments.

Republicans were frustrated that Albin would only speak to opinions rendered during his term, excluding the cases at the foundation of school funding and affordable housing. At one point, Bill Baroni started half-jokingly askin Albin if he would offer his opinion on ancient federal cases like Plessy v. Ferguson and Marbury v. Madison.

The bulk of the criticism was aimed at the court itself, however, and not specifically at Albin. Cardinale – the most conservative senator on the committee – voted no, but made his no vote relatively friendly and even said he was “tempted to vote” for Albin. Later, he said he might vote yes for him on Thursday.

“I don’t want you to misunderstand me casting a negative vote. It’s not directed at you personally as it is at the thought that something has to change,” he said. And it won’t make any difference, because you’re going to be confirmed anyway, but I hope that the court and your colleagues understand that something different needs to happen.”

Albin passes committee 9-4