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Center on the American Governor > On Governors > New Jersey Governors > Governor Jon S. Corzine Administration > The State Supreme Court During the Corzine Administration

The State Supreme Court During the Corzine Administration

Seal_of_the_Supreme_Court_of_New_JerseyThe New Jersey governor is able to nominate new members to the Supreme Court when openings occur through resignation, death, or retirement.  Once confirmed by the Senate, appointed justices initially serve a seven-year term after which they can be nominated for tenure by the sitting governor and, if reconfirmed by the State Senate, remain on the court until they reach the mandatory retirement age of 70.

Governor Corzine nominated two Supreme Court Justices during the course of his term as governor. In September 2006, with Chief Justice Deborah Poritz approaching age 70, Corzine announced that he would replace her by elevating current Justice James Zazzali–who was appointed by Governor Christine Todd Whitman (R) in 2000 and was himself 69 years old–to the Chief Justice seat. To replace Zazzali as a Justice, Corzine nominated Helen Hoens. The State Senate confirmed both Zazzali’s elevation and Hoens’s nomination on October 23, 2006, and each took the oath of office three days later.

On June 4, 2007, Zazzali himself reached the mandatory retirement age of 70. To replace him, Corzine nominated his former chief counsel and state attorney general Stuart Rabner to serve as Chief Justice. Rabner was confirmed on June 21, 2007 and took the oath of office on June 29, 2007.

Corzine also re-nominated three justices to a second term and tenure upon the conclusion of their initial seven-year terms. In 2006, Corzine renominated Justice Virginia Long, a Whitman nominee, to the bench. In December of the same year, he renominated Justice Jaynee LaVecchia, another Whitman nominee. Three years later, in May 2009, Corzine renominated Justice Barry Albin for a second term and tenure. Albin had originally been nominated to the court by Governor James McGreevey in 2002. The remaining two justices–John Wallace, Jr., and Roberto Rivero-Soto–were each nominated by Governor James McGreevey and did come up for renomination during Corzine’s term.


Corzine appointees:

Chief Justice
James Zazzali (elevated from Associate Justice)
Stuart Rabner

Associate Justice
Helen Hoens

Justices renominated for tenure by Governor Corzine:

Virginia Long (originally nominated by Governor Whitman)
Jaynee LaVecchia (originally nominated by Governor Whitman)
Barry Albin (originally nominated by Governor McGreevey)