County judge clears hurdle on his way to N.J. Supreme Court bench

    After a two-hour hearing, the Judiciary Committee in the New Jersey Senate has voted to approve Governor Christie’s nomination of Camden County judge Faustino Fernandez-Vine to the New Jersey Supreme Court.

    Despite repeated efforts by committee members to get him to comment on issues such as gay marriage and abortion, Fernandez-Vina said that would not be appropriate because those cases could come before the state’s highest court.

    He even refused to give his own opinion about existing laws on affordable housing and education funding.

    “As a candidate to the court, any comments or criticism of the court would be inappropriate, sir,” said Fernandez-Vina at one point during the hearing.

    Senator Ray Lesniak was frustrated by that answer.

    “That is so inappropriate,” he said. “So wrong, and has nothing to with any concept of jurisprudence that exists anywhere.”

    Lesniak joined the other 12 Judiciary Committee members in approving Fernandez-Vina’s nomination, citing his experience and intellect.

    Committee chairman Nick Scutari expects the full Senate will vote to confirm the nominee sometime after the November election.

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