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Temporary Assignments to Fill Vacancies on the New Jersey Supreme Court

White Paper on New Jersey Supreme Court
By Earl M. Maltz
September 20, 2010
 In the wake of Governor Chris Christie’s decision not to reappoint Justice John E. Wallace, Jr., to the New Jersey Supreme Court, the President of the State Senate has refused to hold hearings on the nomination of Anne M. Patterson, whom Governor Christie has chosen to succeed Justice Wallace.  With the timing of the confirmation of a permanent replacement for Justice Wallace thus uncertain, some have urged Chief Justice Stuart J. Rabner to temporarily assign either a retired justice or a senior judge of the Superior Court to fill the seat until Justice Wallace’s replacement has been confirmed.  This paper addresses the constitutional issues that would be raised by a decision to make such an assignment.