For Arthur Marchand, 2009 was a rough year.
The former Cumberland County surrogate started the year off still stinging from his November, 2008 reelection loss to Doug Rainier, which he described to friends as being “Obamatised” along with the rest of the county’s Republican slate.
Soon, Marchand decided to run for the State Assembly in the 3rd District after getting the state Republicans who recruited him to pledge to help fund his campaign. But owing to a party schism in neighboring Gloucester County and what he said was bad ballot placement, Marchand and running mate, George Shivery, lost the Republican primary to two political neophytes.
So Marchand, ready to retire from politics, was set to be nominated as a Superior Court judge from Cumberland County. The process, which began in the summer, started off smoothly. The Cumberland County Bar Association approved Marchand, who served as county prosecutor before he became surrogate, and he passed the State Police background check.
But the nomination hit a wall over matters intensely personal and private when it got to the State Bar Association, whose Judicial and Prosecutorial Appointments Committee must green light nominees before they proceed on to legislative approval.
“I’m not supposed to talk about it. It’s supposed to be all secret,” said Marchand.
Although Marchand declined to comment, multiple sources said the hold-up was at least partly due to a family dispute involving his brother over the handling of their late mother’s estate. There were no lawsuits or legal actions filed in the dispute.
George Stanger, a former Superior Court judge who sometimes clashed with Marchand when he was the county prosecutor, is said to have had a role in derailing the nomination. Stanger could not be reached for comment.
New Jersey State Bar Association (NJSBA) President Allen Etish would not comment whether Marchand’s nomination was held up by his organization, saying only that he has met with Marchand. He did say that the association received anonymous letters with complaints about Marchand, but would not elaborate on their contents and said they did not factor into any NJSBA decision.
“The only thing I have any familiarity with is an unsigned letter that came in a long time ago. It really didn’t form the basis on any part because it was unsigned and unfounded,” said Etish. “…Beyond that, anything that went on in the meeting is confidential.”
So for now, Marchand’s future as a Superior Court judge is in limbo, though sources suggest he may be able to secure a judgeship that doesn’t need approval from the State Bar Association. What is certain is that he has no desire to return to the political realm.
“I want to put politics behind me,” he said.