of New Jersey
WHEREAS, the fair and impartial administration of justice lies at the cornerstone of our system of government; and
WHEREAS, the citizens of New Jersey rightly insist on maintaining a standard of excellence for those entrusted to administer our courts; and
WHEREAS, the Governor has the authority and obligation to nominate highly qualified individuals to serve as judges in our courts; and
WHEREAS, by longstanding tradition, Senators have recommended judicial candidates to the Governor for vacant restricted seats; and
WHEREAS, the Governor nominates judges subject to the advice and consent of the Senate; and
WHEREAS, it is vitally important that the people be served by judges of the highest legal and ethical caliber;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, JON S. CORZINE, Governor of the State of New Jersey, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and by the Statutes of this State, do hereby ORDER and DIRECT:
- A Judicial Advisory Panel is hereby established, whose mission will be to review the background and abilities of potential nominees to the judiciary. This Panel will meet periodically to consider the qualifications of attorneys for nomination to the Superior Court.
- The Office of Chief Counsel will supply the Panel with a copy of the Confidential Judicial Questionnaire completed by each potential nominee. This questionnaire may be circulated only among the Panel's members and may be used only for purposes of the Panel's work pursuant to this Order.
- The Panel will establish internal procedures for reviewing potential nominees in order to ensure consistency and fairness in the review process.
- Upon completion of the review of a particular candidate, the Panel will submit a written evaluation to the Governor through the Office of Chief Counsel. The evaluations shall constitute advisory, consultative and deliberative materials for the Governor's review. In order to encourage complete candor in evaluating potential judicial candidates, these evaluations will remain confidential with the Governor and Counsel's Office. Confidential Judicial Questionnaires submitted by judicial candidates, written evaluations prepared by the Panel, and related documents shall be deemed to be confidential, non-public, and not subject to the Open Public Records Act, P.L. 1963, c. 73, as amended and supplemented.
- The Governor will rely heavily on the Panel's evaluations in deciding whether to nominate an individual to the court.
- In the event the Governor decides to proceed with a particular candidate, the Governor will then forward the prospective nominee's name to the State Bar Association for an independent, subsequent review. The Governor will likewise rely heavily on the State Bar's recommendation in deciding whether to submit an individual's nomination to the Senate for its advice and consent.
- Consistent with Article VI, Section VI, Par. 1, of the New Jersey State Constitution, the Governor retains sole authority to determine whom to nominate to all judicial positions.
- The Judicial Advisory Panel will be comprised of up to seven (7) members. The Panel shall include five (5) or more retired judges. The Panel may also include up to two (2) members of the public who are either non-lawyers or non-practicing lawyers. (Practicing attorneys participate in the review conducted by the State Bar Association; as a result, they are not being asked to serve on this Panel.)
- Members of the Panel shall serve for a term of five (5) years.
- This Order shall take effect immediately.
GIVEN, under my hand and seal this 22nd day
Two Thousand and Six, and of
the Independence of the United States, the Two
Hundred and Thirty-First.
/s/ Jon S. Corzine
/s/ Stuart Rabner
Chief Counsel to the Governor