On June 27, 2011, the New Jersey Senate, by a vote of 36-0, approved the nomination of Anne Patterson for the New Jersey Supreme Court. Ms. Patterson was originally nominated to fill the seat vacated by Justice John Wallace when Governor Christie decided to not re-appoint him following the expiration of his initial seven-year term. In response to the Governor’s decision, the Senate refused to consider Ms. Patterson’s nomination. Last month, Governor Christie and Senate leadership agreed that he would withdraw Ms. Patterson’s nomination for Justice Wallace’s seat and instead re-submit her nomination as the replacement for Justice Roberto Rivera-Soto, who announced earlier in 2011 that he would not seek re-appointment to the Court. Ms. Patterson is expected to be sworn in as a Justice and take her seat on the Court in September 2011.
After the vote approving her for a spot on the Court, Ms. Patterson was given the opportunity to address the Senate and stated: “It’s been a tremendous honor for me to meet with the members of this Senate and to be nominated and now confirmed for the position of associate justice of the Supreme Court. It is an incredible honor for which I thank the Governor as well as the Senate. I will do my very best to be worthy of the confidence which you’ve shown to me this evening.” Following the vote, Governor Christie said that “Anne Patterson will be an extraordinary Justice. I thank the Senate for its unanimous support of her and I wish her all the best.”
When Ms. Patterson joins the Court, it will bring the number of female members of the Court to four – a majority on the seven-member Court – as she will join Justice Virginia Long, Justice Jaynee LaVecchia, and Justice Helen Hoens. In addition, Judge Dorothea O’C. Wefing, the Presiding Judge for Administration of the Appellate Division, is also temporarily serving on the Supreme Court to fill the seat that remains vacant since Justice Wallace was not re-appointed.