TRENTON – Senate lawmakers approved 16 nominations to the Superior Court Thursday as part of a deal between lawmakers and the Gov. Chris Christie administration to clear the backlog of pending judicial nominations.
The Senate Judiciary Committee breezed through 15 nominations before ending with Superior Court judge nominee Joe Oxley.
Oxley, a former Monmouth County Sheriff and chairman of the Monmouth County GOP, was expected to be grilled by lawmakers over his connections with federal informant Solomon Dwek.
Democratic Sens. Ray Lesniak and Paul Sarlo told Oxley they planned to present Oxley intense questions or even oppose his nomination if not for all of the phone calls they received from people who spoke positively of Oxley.
“Quite frankly, you have a great resume,” said Sarlo, adding he planned to vote against Oxley being appointed to the Superior Court.
“[Your colleagues] called me right up to this morning on behalf of you,” he said.
Democratic lawmakers expressed disappointment that Oxley was able to survive being linked to Dwek despite other New Jersey officials having their careers destroyed for their link to the federal informant known for his cooperation with Operation Bid Rig.
Oxley’s nomination was in jeopardy over an FBI investigation into Oxley’s connection with Dwek, according to reports.
Oxley supporters argued the FBI ultimately found no wrongdoing.
The Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously released the following nominations from committee:
J. Randall Corman
Christopher D. Rafano
Peter A. Bogaard
Bradford M. Bury
Maritza B. Byrne
Angela White Dalton
Katie A. Gummer
Daniel R. Lindemann
Arnold L. Natali Jr.
Michael F. O’Neill
Nesle A. Rodriguez
Donald J. Stein
James P. Wilson