Senate to consider Christie pick for N.J. high court

    A confirmation hearing is set for Tuesday on Gov. Chris Christie’s nomination of Anne Patterson for a seat on the New Jersey Supreme Court.

    There could be a spirited debate over the matter.

    Nicholas Scutari, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he has some concerns about Patterson.

    “With respect to consumer protections, she’s only represented large corporations in product liability cases not having a wealth of wide-ranging experience where the court will listen to al sorts of different areas of the law,” said Scutari. “Also constitutional protection of criminal defendants … there should be some concerns on that.”

    Scutari said he is also concerned about Christie’s desire to make the court more conservative.

    Montclair State University political science and law professor Brigid Harrison said she expects Democrats will try to stand in the way of that aim.

    “I think that we see that this governor sees that government should have a smaller role, and I think that the Democrats that are on the majority in the state senate judiciary committee may now sit up and take notice and really resist his efforts to reshape the court,” said Harrison.

    If Patterson is confirmed by the Senate, she’ll replace Associate Justice Roberto Rivera-Soto whose term ends in September.

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