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Senate President Steve Sweeney. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe)

Sweeney open to public release of state judicial background checks

NJ State Police four-ways now kept confidential

By Nikita Biryukov, October 12 2018 2:09 pm

Senate President Steve Sweeney opened the door on Friday to releasing to the public New Jersey State Police background checks into judicial nominees coming to be confirmed by State Senate.

“I don’t see why not,” Sweeney said when asked if he’d support releasing the so-called four-way background checks. “Seriously, I don’t see why not. We get them, we go through the process. Once you become a judge, there’s a lot of financial disclosure that we file for people to serve on commissions and authorities, so it’s all out there.”

Those background checks, known as four-ways, include interviews with acquaintances, investigations into the nominees tax and credit histories and a multitude of other subjects.

Similar to the background checks done by the FBI on a national level, the content of those investigations is not released to the public.

Sweeney believes the federal practice ought to change as well, at least when it comes to the five-day FBI investigation into sexual assault allegations against now-U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

“Yeah, I think it should be,” Sweeney said when asked if the FBI investigation should be made public. “It’s like anything else, once you come to a conclusion. I saw that there are ethics charges that are being investigated by the Supreme Court because they deemed a dozen charge absolutely legitimate on whether he really has the temperament to serve on the Supreme Court.”

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