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Acting Corrections Commissioner Victoria Kuhn at her Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on May 19, 2022. (Photo: Joey Fox for the New Jersey Globe).

Kuhn, Superior Court nominees pass Senate with no opposition

By Joey Fox, May 26 2022 2:28 pm

The vacancy problem in the state Superior Court system, as well as in Gov. Phil Murphy’s cabinet, was lessened today after the Senate confirmed 11 Superior Court nominees alongside Corrections Commissioner Victoria Kuhn, who after today will be able to remove the “acting” from her title.

The votes were all unanimous, though for unclear reasons one Superior Court nominee, Jodi Bouer, was put before the Senate as part of a separate list than every other nominee. In committee, State Sen. Troy Singleton (D-Delran) abstained on Bouer’s nomination; he did not vote at all today when she came before the full Senate, despite being present in the chamber.

Last week, New Jersey Supreme Court Chief Justice Stuart Rabner drew attention to the high number of judicial vacancies, which includes two open spots on the Supreme Court itself alongside 75 trial court vacancies. With the diverse 11-member slate passed today, there are 14 non-incumbent nominees still awaiting a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

As for Kuhn, she assumed leadership of the Department of Corrections last June after Commissioner Marcus Hicks resigned due to reports of rampant sexual abuse at Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women. Kuhn faced some pointed questions about her yearlong tenure at last week’s committee hearing, but faced no real opposition to her nomination.

State Sen. Jean Stanfield (R-Westampton), who emerged as a leading critic of Hicks last year, supported Kuhn’s nomination.

“In my time meeting with Mrs. Kuhn and reviewing her record, I was impressed by her integrity and her dedication to restoring the reputation of the department,” Stanfield said. “I believe Victoria Kuhn has the experience and passion for justice to lead the Department of Corrections forward.”

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