TRENTON – Gov. Chris Christie today announced his selection of Robert Hanna, president of the Board of Public Utilities, and Judge David Bauman of the Superior Court of New Jersey, Monmouth County, to be Associate Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court. If confirmed, Bauman will be the first Asian-American to serve on New Jersey’s highest court.
“I thank each of these very accomplished, capable individuals for their willingness to serve on the Supreme Court. Not only would Bob and David make outstanding justices, but their nominations also expand the diversity of background, strong experience and qualifications of the court membership – a point made most clear by each man’s previous, unanimous endorsement by the New Jersey Senate,” said Christie. “Bob and David already have extensive records of public service and accomplishment, and New Jersey is fortunate to have such remarkable individuals continue their service on our state’s highest court.”
The state Senate Judiciary Committee rejected Christie’s last two nominees – Phil Kwon and Bruce Harris – amid questions about their qualifications and the partisan balance of the court. Both Kwon and Harris went on to work at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
“Gov.Christie has once again put forward a pair of thoughtful nominations to the New Jersey Supreme Court. Both Judge Bauman and President Hanna have extremely impressive professional and legal backgrounds, and both received unanimous approval by the Senate to their current positions, a testament to the impressive nature of their qualifications,” said Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean (R-Union.) “I sincerely hope that past praise is a sign that Democrats are ready to give these qualified individuals a fair hearing, something that that previous nominees were unfortunately denied for purely partisan purposes.”
Hanna, 54, a lawyer with nearly 30 years of legal experience, has served as the President of the Board of Public Utilities since December 2011, when he was unanimously approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee and full Senate for the post. For the two years prior to that, he served as Director of the Division of Law and Assistant Attorney General within the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety.
Hanna served for 16 years in the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey including approximately four years as the Chief of the Securities and Health Fraud Unit. As Chief of the Securities and Health Fraud Unit, Hanna supervised ten prosecutors in the investigation and prosecution of major federal securities and health care fraud cases. Hanna also has 10 years of prior private sector legal experience with the firms Gibbons P.C. and Cahill, Gordon & Reindel. He is a summa cum laude graduate of Manhattan College and received his law degree from Fordham University, where he served on the Law Review staff.
New Jersey Sierra Club Director Jeff Tittel expressed reservations about Hanna’s nomination to the state Supreme Court. “His departure will mean we will have the third BPU president in about a year. The BPU has so many important issues in front of them from the role of the utilities during Hurricane Sandy to renewable energy and energy efficiency programs,” Tittel said. “We should not be changing leadership at a time when we need to hold the utilities accountable for what happened with the storm with more than half the state losing power and with holding BPU accountable for the failure of the utilities.”
Bauman, 56, currently sits as the Presiding Judge, Civil Division, in Monmouth County. After 17 years in private practice, Judge Bauman was nominated in 2008 for the post by Governor Corzine. He was unanimously approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee and confirmed by the full Senate 37-0. A veteran, Bauman served 4 years on Active Duty with the United States Marine Corps, and an additional 12 years as a Reservist. On Active Duty, Bauman served as Defense Counsel, Prosecutor and Special Counsel with the Naval Investigative Service, trying over 30 jury and bench trials at special and general courts martial.
Prior to his appointment to the Superior Court, Bauman served for 17 years in private sector law with the firm Bressler, Amery & Ross, including as a partner for 10 years, where he specialized in complex civil and commercial litigation as well as criminal law. In that capacity, Bauman appeared before the U.S District Court of New Jersey, New York and New Jersey State Courts and various administrative agencies. In addition, Bauman was an active member of a variety of organizations in the law and victim advocacy communities, including: the New Jersey Supreme Court Civil Practice Committee; the Asian-Pacific American Lawyers Association of New Jersey; the New Jersey Battered Women’s Legal Advocacy Project; and as a member of the NJ State Bar Association’s Franchise Law Committee and Special Committee on Military Law and Veterans Affairs.
Bauman is a Magna cum laude graduate of Columbia University and received his law degree from Boston College.
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