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Get to Know Your State’s Supreme Court Justices!


What is a “Supreme Court Justice?”

It is basically a title for a judge in the Supreme Court of the U.S. or New Jersey. In the New Jersey Supreme Court, there is one chief justice and six associate justices. The Supreme Court is the highest appellate court that either agrees or disagrees with the issue that is being tried for an appeal. The New Jersey Supreme Court follows the U.S. Constitution, the New Jersey Constitution, and the common law.

Now that you got a brief summary of what justices do, it’s time to look at who is debating in the high court:


Chief Justice Stuart Rabner

Because Rabner is the chief justice, he is the administrative head for the court system and is responsible for managing the state’s courts.

Rabner is the eighth chief justice since the New Jersey Constitution in 1947. He was sworn into the office on June 29, 2007 after being nominated by Governor Jon Corzine and approved by the Senate.

Stuart Rabner was born and raised in New Jersey, later graduating summa cum laude from Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. Rabner then pursued law at Harvard Law School. He served as a law clerk to U.S. District Court Judge Dickinson R. Debevoise, then soon after joined the U.S. Attorney’s office in Newark.

Rabner became attorney general in 2006 until finally getting nominated as a justice.


Justice Jaynee LaVecchia

Justice LaVecchia was born in Paterson, NJ and attended Douglass College and graduated from Rutgers School of Law in Newark.

LaVecchia has been serving on the Supreme Court since 2000, when she was nominated by Governor Christine Todd Whitman and approved by the Senate.

Justice LaVecchia started her law career working as Director of the Division of Law within the Department of Law and Public Safety, she was responsible for the legal work of all civil lawyers in the New Jersey Attorney’s Office. She then pursued onto serving as Director and Chief Administrative Law Judge for the Office of Administrative Law. LaVecchia also served as Assistant Counsel then Deputy Chief Counsel to Governor Thomas H. Kean.

LaVecchia was also known for her private practice and deputy attorney general in the Division of Law.

Before becoming the state justice, she served as a New Jersey Commissioner of Banking and Insurance.


Justice Barry T. Albin

Barry T. Albin was born in Brooklyn, NY. He received his Bachelor’s Degree from Rutgers College and then continued to get his law degree from Cornell University. He began his law career as a Deputy Attorney General in the Appellate Section of the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice.

For nearly four years, Albin served as Assistant Prosecutor in Passaic and Middlesex Counties.

Albin was partner at a Woodbridge law firm of Wilentz, Goldman, and Spitzer before he was nominated as justice first by Governor James E. McGreevey and approved by the Senate. The Senate approved Albin’s second term and tenure in 2009.


Justice Anne M. Patterson

Anne M. Patterson was born in Trenton, NJ, and was raised in Hopewell Township and Princeton. She graduated magna cum laude from Dartmouth College and was also a member of the Phi Betta Kappa. Patterson pursued a law degree at Cornell Law School, where she won the Cuccia Cup moot court competition.

Soon after she graduated law school, she worked as an associate at Riker, Danzig, Scherer, Hyland, & Perretti, LLP. A few years later, she left the law firm to become deputy attorney general and assistant to New Jersey Attorney General Peter Perretti, Jr. There, she handled civil litigation and criminal appeals for the state.

Patterson later rejoined Riker Danzig and became partner, working on cases in regarding product liability, intellectual property, and commercial litigation in state and federal trial and appellate courts.

Justice Anne Patterson was approved by the Senate and nominated by Governor Chris Christie in 2011.


Justice Faustino J. Fernandez-Vina

Born in Santiago, Cuba, Fernandez-Vina is the first Cuban Justice. He obtained his Bachelor’s Degree from Widener University and graduated from Rutgers University School of Law-Camden.

After he had graduated, Fernandez-Vina worked as a law clerk for Superior Court Judge E. Stevenson Fluharty before going into private practice for civil trials. Fernandez-Vina then pursued onto serving for the District IV Ethics Committee, the Supreme Court Committee on Character and the Supreme Court Committee on Jury Selection.

Governor James E. McGreevey appointed Fernandez-Vina on the Superior Court bench, where he started off in the civil division of Camden Vicinage. He later on moved to the family division and then named as the presiding judge for the civil division of Camden Vicinage. Chief Justice Rabner assigned him as assignment judge of Camden Vicinage.

Vina became a justice after being nominated by Gov. Chris Christie and approved by the Senate in 2013.


Judge Mary Catherine Cuff (t/a)

Judge Cuff is a graduate of Rosemont College and Rutgers University School of Law-Newark. After graduating from law school she became deputy attorney general, special assistant to the state treasurer, assistant U.S. State attorney, Chief of the Civil Division, and worked at a law firm called Waters, McPherson, McNeill in Secaucus.

Judge Cuff was working as an adjunct instructor at Seton Hall University School of Law, instructor of the Attorney General’s Advocacy Institute, judge of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York’s National Moot Trial Competition, and a trustee at Rosemont College.

Cuff was nominated by Governor Thomas H. Kean and nominated for her second term and tenure by Gov. Christine Todd Whitman in 1995.


Judge Ariel A. Rodríguez (t/a)

Also born in Cuba, Ariel A. Rodríuez got his education from Rutgers University  and Rutgers School of Law-Camden.

Rodríguez began his legal career in the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, which he eventually left to become a partner at a law firm. Afterwards, he taught legal courses part-time at Hudson County Community College while also named counsel to the Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company until he was appointed to the Superior Court.

Rodríguez worked for the family, civil, and criminal divisions for the Hudson Vicinage. He was nominated at first by Governor Thomas H. Kean and was re-nominated with tenure by Gov. Jim Florio as the Appellant Division Judge .













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