Monday, August 12, 2013

Christie Video: End 'Partisan Games' On Court Choices

Trenton News Conference, August 12, 2013. (Transcript)

Governor Christie: 
In the words of the late Senator John Adler, Judge Fernandez-Vina had 'the highest level of competence and he's just the total package.' 
Last year Chief Justice Rabner named Judge Fernandez-Vina the Assignment Judge of the Camden Vicinage. At that time the Chief Justice said the following, "Judge Fernandez-Vina brings to the position of assignment judge a wealth of experience, a proven, practical approach to addressing issues, superb judgment and the respect of the bench and bar." Those are his words not mine. 
I agree with the Chief Justice's sentiment and the statement of the late Senator Adler. 
Beyond his time in public life Judge Fernandez-Vina had 22 years of private sector legal experience where he tried in excess of 100 cases and was a certified civil trial attorney certified by the New Jersey Supreme Court. 
Born in Cuba Judge Fernandez-Vina has worked his way to the top of his profession. He also has deep roots in our state having earned his law degree from Rutgers in Camden in 1978 and worked here in New Jersey ever since. 
He has in every way lived the American dream. As I've said many times elections have consequences. Even before I officially became Governor I made clear it was my intention to reshape the court. I believe that is the right and the prerogative of any Governor, Republican or Democrat. It is how our judicial system is set up, it's what our constitution currently embodies and permits. Furthermore, it's my belief that the New Jersey Supreme Court has repeatedly strayed from its purview and overstepped its role. 
As such, in each nomination I've made my focus has not just been bringing to the bench sound and judicious individuals but common sense. So it's my distinct honor to be here today with Judge Fernandez-Vina and to put forward his nomination when the Senate comes into session a week from today. 
It is also my sincere hope that his confirmation process will be a smooth one. There is no reason for the legislature to engage in partisan games especially with someone who they reconfirmed just a year and a half ago for lifetime tenure. There's no reason for the legislature to continue to delay as they've done with previous nominations. 
Especially given the unanimous previous confirmations and the high praise he's earned from leaders of both political parties. He gives us South Jersey representation on the court, he gives us Hispanic representation on the court, adding to its diversity, and he gives us a wealth of experience both as a civil trial attorney in the courtroom and as a judge who has overseen dozens and dozens of trials from the other side of the bench. 
On a personal note I will tell you that in the time we've gotten to know each other I also like Judge Fernandez-Vina personally a great deal as do almost anyone that you'll speak to who has been in his courtroom, either as a judge or as an adversary. He's a good person, and someone who I think will bring great honor to the position to which he's being nominated. And so I'm going to introduce the judge for some remarks and then I'll come back to take questions from all of you. Congratulations your honor.

Judge Fernandez-Vina: Thank you. Good afternoon everyone. I would like to thank Governor Christie for nominating me to the New Jersey Supreme Court. It would be a great honor sit on our great state's highest court where I would hope to continue the public service I started as a civil judge in Camden, now the Vicinage Assignment Judge. And I'm truly honored and humbled and I thank you.

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