Now that the election for governor and the New Jersey Senate are over, we can turn our attention again to the upcoming vacancies on New Jersey Supreme Court. In addition to the vacancy created by the retirement of Justice Jaynee LaVecchia, two other justices, Fernando Fernandez-Vina and Barry Albin, reach the age of 70 and mandatory retirement next February and July, respectively. We are pleased that the governor has adhered to his selection of Rachel Wainer Apter to replace Justice LaVecchia, and we continue to believe and recommend that this well-qualified nominee be given a hearing.
Independently, we also recommend that one of his other two nominees to replace the retiring justices be a sitting judge, preferably one with appellate experience. It would be desirable to replace three productive opinion writers with at least one justice who has experience in appellate work so the court’s appellate and decision-making power does not become delayed during the initial transition period of three new justices joining the court over a short period of time.