Seats shuffling on New Jersey Supreme Court

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The Judicial Update

June 13, 2011

New Jersey: By now, most everyone is familiar with the year-long, now resolved, standoff over former justice John Wallace's seat on the New Jersey Supreme Court. Things will soon become much more complicated, however, as three more seats become vacant in the next year.[1]

First, Justice Edwin Stern retired from the court on Friday after reaching the mandatory retirement age. Stern was serving as a interim justice following the non-reappointment of John Wallace. Already Dorothea Wefing, Presiding Judge of the New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division has been appointed as an interim judge to replace him. Chief Justice Stuart Rabner appointed Wefing for an undetermined amount of time, though Senate President Stephen Sweeney has expressed his reluctance toward confirming a full-time justice to succeed Wallace any sooner than his term would have ended, which is March 13, 2012.[1]

That month Virginia Long will step down from the court, also due to the mandatory retirement age of 70.[1]

Before that, Roberto Rivera-Soto has announced his retirement from the court at the end of his current term this year. Anne Patterson, who was originally appointed to succeed Wallace, is almost set to instead follow Rivera-Soto. She is awaiting confirmation by the full New Jersey Senate.[2]

This means that during his first term in office Governor Chris Christie will appoint at least three justices to the New Jersey Supreme Court, allowing him the opportunity to begin remaking the composition of the court.

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