The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee wasn’t ready to say if Rachel Wainer Apter would be confirmed for a seat on the New Jersey Supreme Court, noting that the process for her to replace Justice Jaynee LaVecchia could go past September.
Gov. Phil Murphy nominated Wainer Apter, the 40-year-old director of the state Division on Civil Rights and a former law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, two months ago.
“I can’t prejudge that. I can’t even give a prediction right at this point,” Scutari said in an appearance on the New Jersey Globe Power Hour on Talk Radio 77 WABC on Saturday. “That process has just begun. The nomination has been made. It’s now public. The vetting process is at the very beginning.”
But Scutari did say that while Wainer Apter “has a high likelihood” of making it to the state’s top court, it’s possible she won’t be there when the Supreme Court begins its next session on September 1.
“I can’t say that that’s going to happen or it isn’t. And we certainly have seen our share of times that the court wasn’t fully seated and one of the most senior members (of the appellate division) will be brought up in that case,” Scutari said. “If someone is going to serve up to 30 years and perhaps, you know, I don’t think a few months here, there is going to make that big of a difference, quite frankly.”
Wainer Apter cannot proceed without sign offs from four Bergen County senators. Only one, Joseph Lagana (D-Paramus), has committed to her confirmation.
Click PLAY to listen to Senator Scutari’s interview.