TRENTON – The Senate Judiciary Committee cleared the nomination of N.J. Supreme Court nominee Judge Faustino Fernandez-Vina at a hearing Thursday relatively devoid of the partisan acrimony of last year’s hearings. The vote was unanimous.
The judge was cleared to assume a high court seat being vacated by Justice Helen Hoens. Gov. Chris Christie decided earlier this year not to renominate Hoens, claiming Democrats would not have given her a fair shot.
He felt the Democrat-controlled Legislature would have a harder time rejecting Fernandez-Vina, a Camden County judge who already had been affirmed by the Senate for Superior Court.
When Fernandez-Vina is sworn in, that still will leave two vacancies on the court, and two nominees – David Bauman and Robert Hanna – awaiting hearings. They were nominated nearly one year ago.
Fernandez-Vina weathered questioning from Sens. Ray Lesniak and Nicholas Scutari about his reluctance to get into specifics, in particular on key issues of the day such as gay marriage and affordable housing.
Lesniak at one point even told Scutari he couldn’t vote on someone who was so reluctant to address specifics.