Home>Governor>Justice LaVecchia won’t extend retirement, leaving Supreme Court on December 31

New Jersey Supreme Court Jaynee LaVecchia, center, with Chief Justice Stuart Rabner, right, and Justice Anne Patterson. (Photo: Rutgers University Law School.)

Justice LaVecchia won’t extend retirement, leaving Supreme Court on December 31

Senate still hasn’t confirmed Rachel Wainer Apter, who was nominated by governor to replace LaVecchia in March

By David Wildstein, December 17 2021 2:48 pm

New Jersey Supreme Court Justice Jaynee LaVecchia will retire on December 31, the New Jersey Globe has confirmed.

LaVecchia announced on March 8 that she would step down on August 30 and Gov. Phil Murphy nominated Rachel Wainer Apter to replace her one week later.  But the State Senate has not moved on her confirmation – Republican Holly Schepisi (R-River Vale), who has senatorial courtesy over gubernatorial nominees from Bergen County – and there is virtually no chance that Wainer Apter will get confirmed before the end of the legislative session on January 11.

In July, LaVecchia said she would postpone her retirement until her successor was confirmed, or until the end of the year.  A spokesman for the Court said that LaVecchia would not extend her retirement for a second time.

Chief Justice Stuart Rabner has not yet announced a timetable for designating a senior appellate court judge will be named to serve as an acting justice until the Senate confirms a nominee to replace LaVecchia.

The judge with the most service on the appellate court is Jose L. Fuentes, who was named to the appellate division in 2002.

LaVecchia’s retirement was unexpected.  At age 66, she still had more than three years remaining before reaching the mandatory retirement age of 70.

A former assistant counsel to Gov. Thomas Kean, LaVecchia served as the state Commissioner of Banking and Insurance for seventeen months before Gov. Christine Todd Whitman nominated her to serve as an Associate Justice following the retirement of Marie Garibaldi.

Murphy has had four of his Supreme Court nominations confirmed: Fabiana Pierre-Louis, who replaced Walter Timpone in 2020; and Justices Anne Patterson, Faustino Fernandez-Vina and Lee Solomon – all Republicans named by Gov. Chris Christie who were renominated to tenured terms.

In addition to the LaVecchia seat, Murphy will get at least two more Supreme Court nominations in 2022 when Justices Faustino Fernandez-Vina and Barry Albin reach the mandatory retirement age of 70.

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