Christie, Senate Dems continue stalemate over N.J. high court

Gov. Chris Christie is still trying to fill two vacancies on the New Jersey Supreme Court after the Senate Judiciary Committee rejected his latest nominees.

Christie has voiced concern about judicial activism and wants to reshape the court. Democrats who control the Legislature want to maintain political balance and judicial independence on New Jersey’s highest court.

Rutgers-Camden law professor Bob Williams says the standoff that started after Christie’s decision two years ago to deny tenure to Justice John Wallace is eroding the stature and authority of the court.

“It would be in almost everybody’s interests to find some middle ground between the governor and the Senate that would return the court to its independent stature,” Williams said. “But, at this point in time, it’s hard to see what that middle ground might be.”

The court is currently functioning with five justices and one temporarily assigned appellate court judge. The chief justice could elevate another appellate judge to bring the court to its full seven members until new justices are selected and confirmed.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.