Gov. Chris Christie surprised political observers Wednesday by announcing a deal with state Senate President Steve Sweeney to reappoint Chief Justice Stuart Rabner to the New Jersey Supreme Court. In return, Christie will obtain the Legislature’s approval for Superior Court Judge Lee Solomon to join the state’s highest court.
Christie and the Democratic majority in the state Legislature have been battling since the beginning of Christie’s term over the makeup of the state Supreme Court, with Christie vowing to realign it to be more conservative. The standoff has resulted in Christie being accused of trying to damage judicial independence due to his refusal to reappoint two of the court’s justices. The Legislature has retaliated by not approving Christie’s Supreme Court nominees.