Making one more small – some might even say imperceptible – dent in New Jersey’s daunting judicial vacancy problem, the Senate Judiciary Committee today unanimously cleared two nominees to be judges of the Superior Court: James Fattorini and William Mennen.
Fattorini was one of the Superior Court nominees put forward by Gov. Phil Murphy in March as part of a diverse 14-member slate. Most of those nominees were cleared on May 17, but Fattorini’s nomination was delayed for unknown reasons.
Assuming Fattorini is confirmed by the Senate at its full voting session on Thursday, only one of those 14 nominees, Nadia Kahf Alqudah, will remain in limbo; Alqudah, a Wayne resident, has so far failed to get senatorial signoff from State Sen. Kristin Corrado (R-Totowa).
Mennen, a former Hunterdon County freeholder who briefly ran for the Assembly in 2011, was nominated on May 16 and has moved efficiently through the confirmation process. Ten currently serving Superior Court judges were also unanimously approved today for new terms.
There are still dozens of Superior Court vacancies as well as two, soon to be three, vacancies on the state Supreme Court, a problem Supreme Court Chief Justice Stuart Rabner has exhorted the governor and legislature to fix. The imminent confirmations of Mennen and Fattorini on Thursday mean that the problem will be lessened slightly, but state leaders will need to pick up the pace significantly to make a real impact before legislators leave for the summer at the end of June.