TRENTON – Asked by state Sen. Loretta Weinberg, (D-37), of Teaneck, what is was that made Gov. Chris Christie pick her for the job of state Supreme Court justice, Anne Patterson said she had no idea.
“How do you think you fit his vision,” Weinberg asked.
Patterson answered, “I don’t know the criteria he used in choosing me…All I can tell you is that I take very seriously the role of a justice.”
“Why do you think he chose you,” Weinberg asked.
The nominee replied, “I can’t speak for (Christie) on that…There was no litmus test applied to me. I was not quizzed by anyone…on positions that I might take.”
Weinberg pressed Patterson, who said earlier that she was a Republican, but generally non-political, regarding more than $10,000 in political contributions made by her over four years.
“Why did you give that money to politicians if you’re not involved in politics?” Weinberg asked.
Patterson said as counsel for the firm Riker, Danzig, Scherer, Hyland & Perretti, she made the vast majority of those contributions at the behest of firm partners as an “expectation for advancing,” she said, with one exception: Bill Baroni.
She said she met Baroni in law circles and took an interest in the now-deputy director for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
“The balance of those political contributions have been at the request of my firm,” she said.
Republican state Sen. Joe Kyrillos, (R-13), of Middletown, was complimentary of the nominee, “one that can charm not only Gov. Christie, but (Democratic) Sen. (Nia) Gill at the same time.”
On Patterson taking the spot of former Justice John Wallace, Kyrillos said, “(Wallace) didn’t dwell on the circumstance of your nomination, and I won’t either.”
“You talked about humility, you talked about honor, you talked about respect, and that’s what gives me a lot of confidence,” Kyrillos said. “Those were very important words, those are very important attributes.”
He asked her what she did during the yearlong political wrangling over her nomination.
“I’ve scaled back my (private) practice,” she said, and avoided taking any depositions in the state, although it wasn’t a particular request of Chief Justice Stuart Rabner, who she spoke with.
In preparing for the nomination she did a lot of reading, focusing on areas where she has less or no experience.
“To me, I feel that I am better prepared today than I was in 2010,” she said.