In deal with Dems, Christie backs N.J. chief justice for new term

    Gov. Chris Christie has nominated the chief justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court for tenure.

    Christie announced Stuart Rabner’s re-nomination at a news conference Wednesday after brokering a deal with state Senate President Stephen Sweeney, D-Gloucester. If confirmed as expected, the 53-year-old Democratic appointee could serve until the mandatory retirement age of 70.

    Christie will have Sweeney’s support for Republican Judge Lee Solomon’s high court nomination in return.

    A seventh seat on the court will remain vacant and will be filled temporarily by the most senior judge on the Superior Court.

    The court has been a constant battleground between the Democrat-controlled Senate and the Republican governor since Christie took office in 2010.

    Rabner has served as chief justice since 2007.

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