The End of a Six-Year Supreme Court Dispute? Governor Christie Nominates Walter Timpone to the Court

The lengthy saga of Governor Christie and the Supreme Court may finally be coming to an end.  Without recapping the entire history, in February 2016, Governor Christie nominated Monmouth County Superior Court Judge David Bauman to fill the seat on the Supreme Court that has been temporarily occupied by Judge Cuff.  Governor Christie had nominated Judge Bauman, a Republican, in 2012, but his nomination went nowhere in the Senate.  His recent renomination was going nowhere either, as Senate Democrats resisted the appointment of another Republican in light of the current partisan makeup of the Court.  They asserted that unless Governor Christie nominated a Democrat, they would not fill the seat.

Today, Governor Christie announced the nomination of Walter Timpone.  A Democrat, he is a member of the law firm of McElroy Deutsch Mulvaney & Carpenter.  (The current counsel to the Governor, Thomas Scrivo, was, until taking that position, the managing partner of McElroy Deutsch).  Timpone had previously been an Assistant United States Attorney, though his service in that position did not overlap with Governor Christie’s tenure as United States Attorney.

A graduate of St. Francis College, New York University (where he earned a Masters in Special Education) and Seton Hall University School of Law, Timpone clerked for Judge Biunno in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey.  After a stint at a New York law firm, he spent eleven years at the U.S. Attorney’s Office.  He has served in various public positions, including as a federal election monitor in Passaic County, charged with monitoring the voting rights of Hispanic citizens in that count.  He is currently a member of the New Jersey Election Law Commission.  He is best known for his work in white collar criminal defense and for representing health care organizations in various different kinds of matters.

Initial reaction from key Senate Democrats such as Senator Lesniak (D-Union) has been favorable.  It is possible that, for the first time in many years, the Supreme Court of New Jersey will soon have seven sitting Justices.