Robert Hanna, whose New Jersey Supreme Court nomination has been stalled for a year and is about to expire, is a candidate for a Superior Court seat.
On Jan. 2, Gov. Chris Christie filed notices of intent to nominate Hanna to the trial court along with seven others, including Acting Attorney General John Hoffman.
Hanna, president of the Board of Public Utilities, was nominated for the high court in December 2012—along with Monmouth County Superior Court Judge David Bauman.
Due to the continuing impasse between the governor and Senate Democrats, neither nominee was accorded a Judiciary Committee hearing and their nominations time out on Jan. 14.
Bauman, a Republican, would have altered the political makeup of the court by replacing former Justice John Wallace Jr., a Democrat for whom Christie denied tenure in 2010.
Hanna, 55, a Morris County resident, is an independent, though he has made at least three donations totaling $800 to Christie’s campaigns.
A 1980 Manhattan College graduate and 1984 Fordham University School of Law graduate, he began his career at Cahill Gordon & Reindel in New York, handling commercial litigation.
He went to the Civil Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark in 1990 and moved to the Frauds Division in 1997, where he prosecuted white-collar criminal matters, including cases over the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.
In May 2006, Hanna joined Gibbons in Newark as a partner in the Criminal Defense Department, and in January 2010 was made state Division of Law director.
Christie, for whom he had worked in the U.S. Attorney’s Office, named him BPU president last December.
Hoffman, 48, a Burlington County Republican, is shortly to end his stint as acting attorney general, now that Christie has nominated his chief of staff, Kevin O’Dowd, for the post.
Hoffman had been executive assistant attorney general under Jeffrey Chiesa, whom Christie picked in June to serve out the term of the late U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg.
From 2004 to 2010, Hoffman was an assistant U.S. attorney —part of that time under Christie—where he focused on economic and white-collar crimes. From 1996 to 2004, he was with the Justice Department’s Civil Division in Washington D.C.
Hoffman was the director of investigations for state Comptroller Matthew Boxer from 2010 until August 2012, when he was named to the executive assistant role.
In that post, he oversaw the Divisions of Law and Gaming Enforcement, the Racing Commission, the Office of Homeland Security and the Civil Division of the Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor; guided Department of Law and Public Safety senior in-house lawyers, outside counsel and investigators in handling a 10,000-case docket; and served as acting attorney general for civil cases in which Chiesa recused.
The other pending nominees are from across the state.
• John Matheussen, 61, R-Gloucester, is the Delaware River Port Authority’s CEO and president of the Port Authority Transit Corp., a commuter rail line between New Jersey and Philadelphia.
Before that, Matheussen was a state senator from 1992 to 2003. He graduated from Seton Hall University in 1975 with a degree in communications and from University of Dayton Law School in 1978.
His nomination is an about-face from 2010, when Christie criticized Matheussen’s management of the DRPA and called for reforms.
• Timothy Lydon, 41, D-Middlesex, has been executive director of the Senate Democratic Office since November 2012, was deputy director for nearly two years before that and previously served as the office’s general counsel—from 2002 through 2008, except for a brief stint in 2007 during which he was an associate at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett in New York.
He was Gov. Jon Corzine’s director of cabinet affairs from June 2009 to April 2010 and, for eight months before that, was chief of staff to the late U.S. Rep. John Adler. He began his legal career as an associate at Debevoise & Plimpton in New York. He graduated from Gettysburg College in 1995 and Georgetown University Law Center in 2000.
• Peter Tober, 47, R-Somerset, has worked for two gubernatorial administrations and has been executive director of the New Jersey State Ethics Commission since February 2011. He had a seat on the commission before resigning in February 2010 to serve as special counsel to Christie.
He spent a year in that post, and before that was in private practice for eight years in commercial litigation and other areas—first at Kelly & Brennan in Spring Lake Heights and then at Shain, Schaffer & Rafanello in Bernardsville. He was senior assistant counsel to Gov. Christine Whitman from January 1997 to December 2001, and started his legal career with a four-year stint at Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer in Woodbridge beginning in 1992.
He graduated from Cornell University in 1989 and Hofstra University School of Law in 1992, and is an adjunct professor at Seton Hall University.
• Donna Taylor, 50, R-Atlantic, since October 2001 has been an assistant counsel with Atlantic County’s Law Department, where she heads litigation, and since 2006 has been Linwood City Council president.
Taylor previously spent 12 years in private practice at three firms—Parker McCay & Criscuolo in Marlton, Lipman Antonelli Batt & Dunlap in Vineland, and Fox Rothschild O’Brien & Frankel in Atlantic City—where she handled personal injury, commercial litigation and other matters.
She graduated from The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey in 1986 and Villanova University Law School in 1989. Before attending college she spent four years as a Prudential underwriter.
• Marcia Silva, 39, R-Middlesex, since August 2010 has been an East Brunswick solo and general practitioner, public defender for South River and alternate public defender for South Plainfield.
Before that, she spent seven years as an assistant in the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, where she tried 28 matters, including murder cases, and argued before the Supreme Court in State v. Elders in 2007, where the court held that disabled vehicles are subject to “reasonable and articulable suspicion” standard, just like those involved in traffic stops.
From September 2000 to June 2003, Silva was a litigation associate at Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf in New Brunswick. She graduated from Seton Hall University in 1996 and New York Law School in 1999.
• Jeffrey Waldman, 54, D-Atlantic, has been a Somers Point solo since 1996, litigating employment, personal injury, commercial, municipal, landlord-tenant and other matters.
He also has been first assistant municipal prosecutor in Atlantic City since 1997 and chief municipal prosecutor for Buena Vista and Weymouth townships since 2010.
Waldman has served as prosecutor, and planning and zoning board solicitor, for other municipalities as well. Before launching his practice, Waldman spent 10 years as an associate at Ford & Flower in Linwood He graduated from Marietta College in 1981 and University of Bridgeport School of Law in 1985.