Gov. Phil Murphy has filed his intent to nominate Associate Justice Faustino Fernandez-Vina for a tenured appointment to the New Jersey Supreme Court.
Fernandez-Vina is the lone Hispanic on New Jersey’s top court.
A Republican known as Fuzzy, Fernandez would serve until he reaches the mandatory retirement age of 70 on February 15, 2022 if he is confirmed by the State Senate.
Gov. Chris Christie nominated Fernandez-Vina to the Supreme Court in 2013 after declining to renominate another sitting justice, Helen Hoens.
Murphy telegraphed his intent to keep Fernandez-Vina on June 5 when he nominated Fabiana Louis-Pierre to fill an upcoming vacancy.
“This administration is committed to returning the Court to its rightful place – independent of politics, where decisions are made based on what is right rather than what is popular or what is needed to secure re-nomination and tenure from any particular governor,” Murphy said.
Murphy would have an opportunity to totally overhaul the New Jersey Supreme Court if he wins re-election next year.
In addition to Fernandez-Vina, three other justices will turn 70 during the next gubernatorial term: Barry Albin (July 7, 2022); Lee Solomon (August 17, 2024) and Jaynee LaVecchia (October 9, 2024).
LaVecchia was 46 when Gov. Christine Todd Whitman named her to the court in 2000 and Albin was 50 when Gov. James E. McGreevey nominated him in 2002.
Patterson will reach the mandatory retirement age in 2029 – she was 52 when Christie appointed her in 2011 – and Chief Justice Stuart Rabner turns 70 in 2030; he was 47 when Gov. Jon Corzine picked him.