There is some genuine drama surrounding the judicial future of New Jersey Supreme Court Associate Justice John Wallace. If the State Senate does not confirm his nomination by May 20, he will immediately be off the state’s top court. There is no holdover status for Supreme Court Justices. Gov. Christopher Christie has not yet announced if he will renominate Wallace, the only African American on the state’s top court, and one of two Justices from South Jersey. If Christie decides to retain Wallace, the Justice would serve until March 13, 2012, when he reaches the mandatory retirement age of 70. Some judiciary watchers think Wallace would leave next summer, so that a new Justice could be in place in time for the start of the court’s 2011-12 session in the fall.
Wallace was an accidental Justice to begin with. He was appointed in 2003 by Gov. James E. McGreevey only after the expected nomination of Zulima Farber fell through.