Sen.-elect Chris Brown and the Atlantic County Bar Association have created a bipartisan committee to identify and recommend local candidates to become judges of the New Jersey Superior Court, the Office of Administration of Law and the Division of Workers’ Compensation in Atlantic County.

The Judicial Candidate Review Committee will change the process of judicial nominations and appointments in Atlantic County. In previous years, governors asked for reviews and opinions from the State Bar Association’s appointments committee after the nomination was already made, reducing the Bar’s role to a rubber stamp, Brown said.

Under New Jersey’s constitution, the governor nominates the candidates for judgeships with the advice and consent of the state Senate. The Senate then holds a hearing and confirms the nominee.

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“Anyone entering a courtroom in Atlantic County needs to know they will be treated fairly and justice, not politics, will be served,” Brown said in a statement. “The rule of law begins with finding the very best people to preside in our courtrooms.”

Chris Lipari, chairman of the new committee, said this process will protect the “integrity, independence and impartiality of the judiciary.”

Members of the committee include Lipari, a civil rights attorney in Pleasantville; Eric Bergman, an assistant prosecutor at the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office; Carmen Faia, an attorney in Pleasantville; Michael Mackler, an attorney in Atlantic City; Van McPherson, an attorney in Atlantic City and member of the Atlantic County Bar Association’s board of trustees; Julie Nugent, an attorney in Northfield; Jessica Ramirez, a criminal justice attorney in Atlantic City; and Peter Sarkos, a litigation attorney in Atlantic City.

Brown said a potential candidate must have undisputed integrity, a high degree of knowledge of established legal principles and procedures, an appropriate judicial temperament and a record of public service.

“I have faith this committee will recommend the best and the brightest of our county for the governor’s consideration, and I look forward to having their advice and counsel,” Brown said.

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I joined The Press in January 2016 after graduating from Penn State in December 2015. I was the sports editor for The Daily Collegian on campus which covered all 31 varsity sports and several club sports.

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