New Jersey State Senators Diane Allen (R- Burlington/Camden), Jennifer Beck (R- Monmouth/Middlesex), and Dawn Marie Addiego (R- Burlington) were joined by Republican women of the Assembly today to call for a vote on Anne Patterson to the New Jersey Supreme Court. Their comments come in response to controversy surrounding the appointment of an interim justice to fill the vacancy created by John Wallace's departure from the bench.
"There is no need for the controversy surrounding the Supreme Court to continue," said Senator Allen. "The dispute over the interim justice could end tomorrow if the Senate President and Judiciary Committee Chairman would schedule confirmation hearings and a vote on Anne Patterson's nomination to the Court. In fact, we never would have gotten to this point in the first place had the Majority respected the Governor's Constitutional authority to make judicial appointments and the Senate's responsibility to actively consider and vote on the nomination. Advice and consent means an up or down vote, not delay and deal cutting. Anne Patterson is extremely well qualified and has built an impressive legal and public service career. She should be judged on those merits and those merits alone, and all Senators should be given the opportunity to register their opinion of the nomination on the floor of the Senate."
Patterson's nomination has been pending before the Senate for seven months.
Beck said that the Senate has abdicated its Constitutional responsibility by ignoring the nomination. "There is really no reason to delay action on the nomination of an exceptionally accomplished attorney and former Deputy Attorney General," said Beck. "Anne Patterson is well-qualified and her nomination was both well within the Governor's authority to make and entirely appropriate. If there are Senators who feel otherwise, those feelings are appropriately voiced during the confirmation hearings and vote that the Constitution requires. It is time to act on this nomination to restore order to the Supreme Court and to install an individual of impeccable achievement and credentials to the highest judicial body in the state of New Jersey."
Senator Addiego noted that if confirmed, Patterson would give the New Jersey Supreme Court a female majority for the first time. "The Senate has an opportunity to make history by confirming Anne Patterson to the bench," she said. "We could, for the first time ever, have a female majority on the Supreme Court, and become only the fifth state in America to have that distinction. What a wonderful message to send not just to the nation, but to every little girl in New Jersey about the endless possibilities that await them in life. It is truly a shame that the Senate Majority does not recognize the importance of this opportunity, and has instead chosen to shirk its responsibility and pick a partisan fight. In so doing, Senate Democrats have given our New Jersey a black eye. The State Constitution is clear- the Governor makes appointments, the Senate offers advice and consent on those appointments. It is time for the Senate to do its job."