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N.J. Senate confirms 11 new Superior Court judges, chipping away at vacancies

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N.J. Senate confirms 11 new Superior Court judges, chipping away at vacancies

Dec 11, 2023 | 5:02 pm ET
By Sophie Nieto-Munoz
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N.J. Senate confirms 11 new Superior Court judges, chipping away at vacancies
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The state Senate met Monday for the first time since the Legislature went on a break in June. (Dana DiFilippo | New Jersey Monitor)

Another 11 new Superior Court judges were approved by the Senate Monday as the Legislature renewed its effort to bring down the number of judicial vacancies statewide.

The nominees were approved unanimously by the Senate with no discussion during a voting session. The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced the nominees last week. 

Gov. Phil Murphy in a statement applauded the confirmations that will “undoubtedly make significant contributions,” noting that the new judges are both majority women and majority people of color.

“For the past six years, we have remained steadfast in our commitment to ensuring vacancies in our courts are filled by highly qualified individuals who have demonstrated an unwavering devotion to justice, integrity, and the rule of law,” Murphy said. “I am especially proud that my administration has worked closely with the Senate to increase the diversity of our judges, ensuring that the bench looks more like the people of our state.”

Murphy said he would nominate more judicial candidates in the coming weeks and hopes to work with the Senate to continue advancing the nominees that he has sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which must approve them before the full Senate can confirm them.

For more than a year, New Jersey Supreme Court Chief Justice Stuart Rabner has sounded the alarm over the number of judicial vacancies, which, with Monday’s confirmations, is 56. Court officials have said the court system could operate sustainably with a maximum of 30 vacancies.

The high number of vacancies has led to some types of trials being put on hold in parts of the state.

Of the judges approved Monday, one will serve in Ocean County, two will serve in Somerset, and three in Union. The remaining five will sit in Essex County.