TRENTON, N.J. (Legal Newsline) - New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie recently nominated attorney Anne Murray Patterson to the state Supreme Court.

Patterson was nominated on May 2 to replace the retiring Justice Roberto Rivera-Soto. She'll need to be confirmed by the state Senate Judiciary Committee and the full state Senate before she can take her spot on the bench.

She was picked by Christie a year ago to take the place of then-Justice John Wallace. In New Jersey, the governor decides if a justice receives tenure after the justice's initial seven-year term.

Christie's decision to let go of Wallace was a controversial one, and Patterson was never confirmed. The state Legislature, controlled by Democrats, would not proceed with confirmation steps until Wallace's lifetime term would have ended in 2012, when he would have reached the mandatory retirement age of 70.

The result is an open spot on the court temporarily filled by Judge Edward Stern, who was appointed by Chief Justice Stuart Rabner.

Rivera-Soto abstained from cases unless Stern's vote didn't affect the outcome. He is not seeking tenure now that his seven-year term is ending.

Patterson is a partner with the law firm Riker, Danzig, Scherer, Hyland & Perretti of Morristown. According to a release issued last year, 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.

She is also a former deputy attorney general.

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