Republican Proposes Constitutional Amendment Requiring Senate To Consider Judicial Nominations

Michael Patrick Carroll

TRENTON– Noting that many gubernatorial appointments – most notably that of Anne Patterson to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court – remain languishing in the Senate, due to that body’s refusal to schedule hearings, a Republican assemblyman proposed a constitutional amendment to compel the Senate to act on all nominations within 60 days.

“When the Framers of our state constitution endowed the Senate with the power to ‘advise and consent’ to gubernatorial appointments, they assumed that the Senate would act responsibly, not like petulant children,” Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll, R-Morris, said. “It’s simply a disgrace the Senate permits pique and petty personal politics to stand in the way of doing the job the people expect them to do.”

Carroll’s proposed constitutional amendment provides that the Senate must act upon a gubernatorial nomination within 60 days of its submission to that body, or it will be deemed approved.

“The constitution entrusts the Senate with the authority to pass upon the merits of the governor’s appointments,” Carroll said, “and it expects that they will take that role seriously. The Senate is well within its rights to oppose a nominee, or refuse to confirm. But that august body should be above the kind of childish shenanigans we’ve seen of late with gubernatorial appointments, most notably a Supreme Court nominee.

“A nominee is entitled to a timely vote and the Senate has embarrassed itself, and the people of the state of New Jersey, by refusing to do its job,” continued Carroll. “This amendment would ensure that such a travesty never happens again.”

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