State Sen. Dick Codey today said the standoff over judicial vacancies in Newark is up to the governor to end, a statement the governor promptly refuted.
In a statement, Codey said the vacancies have caused a backlog of cases in the county courts, where “piles upon piles of cases” go unheard.
“Over a year ago, I, along with other Democratic senators met with the governor’s staff and signed off on six nominees,” Codey said in a statement. “Since then, the governor has taken no steps to advance those nominations. The ball is in his court on this. Until he and he alone decides to act, literally thousands of cases are going to remain unheard.”
But Christie said Codey’s comments were untrue and claimed Codey knows it. The Essex nominees will not go through until both sides agree on all appointments in the county, Christie said.
“The fact of the matter is that we’ve had long discussions with many of the senators and I’ve made it very clear to them that we have to come to an agreement on all of the appointments pending in Essex County or none of the appointments in Essex County will move forward,” Christie said.
Christie said there have been nominations pending in the county for as long as 500 days that the Democratic senators in the county refuse to sign off on.
“They need to get to work with us to try to resolve the problem,” Christie said. “I stand ready and our appointments office stands ready to work with them. The fact is the ball is not in my court. I’m happy to participate, I’m on the court, but the ball is right in the middle.”
The issue arose after Sen. Ronald Rice, (D-28), Newark, used senatorial courtesy to block Christie’s nomination of Montclair resident Christopher Cerf as Commissioner of Education. As a result, Cerf has been forced to maintain an Acting Commissioner title, which has not set well with the administration.