Senate committee will investigate sexist comments made to judicial nominee

A nominee for a Superior Court judgeship testified today that a member of the Essex County Bar Association who interviewed her during her nomination process asked her if she planned to act like a bitch once she got on the bench.

State Sen. Nia Gill (D-Montclair) has asked that the Senate Judiciary Committee and the state Administrative Office of the Courts to investigate the circumstances surrounding the interview of Cathy Wasserman, a career public defender.  Wasserman said the lawyer who interviewed her said he was concerned that once she became a judge, she might “assume the persona of the wicked Queen of Snow White.”

“It was an unnerving experience,” Wasserman told the Senators.

The lawyer was not identified.

“I will not tolerate that, nor do I think any female candidate for judge or any other position should have to put up with that kind of conduct,” Gill said.

State Sens. Bill Baroni (R-Hamilton) and Gerald Cardinale (R-Demarest) suggested that this incident warrants a new review of the compact between the Governor’s office and the state Bar Association, which allows local lawyers to interview judicial candidates and effectively gives the Bar Association sign off power on judicial nominations. 

The committee voted unanimously to investigate the Essex bar association.  Wasserman, whose nomination was released by the panel without dissent, agreed to assist the investigation.

Senate committee will investigate sexist comments made to judicial nominee