Change coming on N.J. SC

John O'Brien May 3, 2010, 1:33pm


TRENTON, N.J. (Legal Newsline) - New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has decided to change state Supreme Court justices, opting to replace Justice John Wallace.

Christie announced Monday that he would not re-appoint Wallace, whose seven-year term expires May 20. Instead, he has appointed attorney Anne Murray Patterson. Patterson, 51, is a partner with the law firm Riker, Danzig, Scherer, Hyland & Perretti of Morristown.

"I wish to thank and commend Justice Wallace for his seven years of dedicated service on the Supreme Court," Christie said.

"Before and since becoming governor, I was unambiguous in my intention to bring balance and change to the Supreme Court. My selection today is not a commentary on Justice Wallace.

"It is a fulfillment of my promise to turn the court away from its history of using legal precedent to set social and tax policies in our state - a role which belongs squarely with the legislative and executive branches of state government."

Wallace was appointed in 2003 by former Gov. Jim McGreevey, a Democrat. Christie, a Republican, took office earlier this year and chose Paula Dow as state attorney general after Anne Milgram left.

According to a release, Patterson practiced primarily in the areas of product liability and commercial litigation, class actions involving product liability and pharmaceutical pricing, intellectual property litigation, restrictive covenant litigation, closely held corporation litigation and appeals.

"This is the highest honor I could ever imagine, and I am more grateful to Governor Christie than I can express," Patterson said. "I look forward to meeting with members of the Legislature over the coming weeks as they consider my nomination."

Patterson must be confirmed by the state Senate.

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