With three of seven seats on the New Jersey Supreme Court vacant, an unprecedented move is being taken: the temporary promotion of three appellate court judges to the Supreme Court.
Chief Justice Stuart Rabner announced the move on Monday, citing a “crisis” of judicial vacancies across the state. He issued an order naming Judges Clarkson Fisher Jr., Jack Sabatino, Douglas Fasciale – all appellate court judges – to the Supreme Court, where they will “participate in new matters presented for the court’s consideration.”
There is currently one judge who is temporarily on the Supreme Court – Judge Jose Fuentes. However, Fuentes is set to retire on September 1st, necessitating the addition of more judges.
Governor Phil Murphy last year nominated Rachel Wainer Apter to join the Supreme Court to replace retired Judge Jaynee LaVecchia, but her nomination has been held up under the senatorial courtesy rule invoked by Senator Holly Schepisi, which allows senators to hold up nominations of judges from their county.
Murphy has not yet made nominations to replace Barry Albin and Faustino J. Fernandez-Vina, two other Supreme Court justices who retired relatively recently.