TRENTON – Supreme Court nominee Anne Patterson was heard before the Senate Judiciary Committee today, and appointed, 11-1.
Democratic Sen. Ray Lesniak, (D-20), of Elizabeth, has made his position clear, although absent today. Lesniak is protesting the lack of diversity on the court, which was made worse by the non-renewal of former Associate Justice John Wallace, and not casting his vote in opposition to Patterson, per se.
All of the senators in attendance today gave their nod to Patterson, even the Democrats who held up her nomination for over a year.
Patterson, responding to questions about when she will take the job, said if appointed, she will assume Associate Justice Roberto Rivera-Soto’s seat on Sept. 1, when his appointment lapses, “unless for whatever his reasons might that he resigned early and (forfeited) his term,” she said.
The court may be asked to appoint a tiebreaking, 13th member to the Congressional Redistricting Committee over the summer, which has had many sources wondering whether the push will be on by Republicans and Gov. Chris Christie for Rivera-Soto to yield to Patterson before the fall.
–Republicans voting for Patterson: State Sens. Kip Bateman, Jennifer Beck, Gerry Cardinale, Joe Kyrillos, and Tom Kean Jr. (voting for Kevin O’Toole, absent due to a death in the family).
–Democrats voting for Patterson: Chairman Nick Scutari, state Sens. Nia Gill, Paul Sarlo, Loretta Weinberg, Jim Beach (voting for John Girgenti, absent), and Jeff Van Drew (voting for Bob Smith, absent).
-State Sen. Brian Stack is also absent today.