Nikkei Judge Nominated for New Jersey Supreme Court

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Judge David Bauman speaks at a press conference after being introduced by Gov. Chris Christie. (Photo by Tim Larsen/New Jersey Governor’s Office)

TRENTON, N.J. — Gov. Chris Christie on Dec. 10 announced his selection of Judge David Bauman of the Superior Court of New Jersey, Monmouth County, and Robert Hanna, president of the Board of Public Utilities, to the positions of associate justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court.

The nominations continue Christie’s commitment to using his appointment authority to expand the diversity of the state’s highest court in important ways. The governor’s nomination of Justice Anne Patterson and her subsequent confirmation created the first female majority court in the history of the court. If confirmed, Bauman will be the first Asian American to serve on the court.

Bauman, who was born in Japan and immigrated to the U.S. at age 3, is the son of a Japanese mother and an American father of German and Irish heritage who was serving in the U.S. Navy.

In addition, the selection of Bauman, a Republican, and Hanna, who has no party affiliation, will maintain partisan balance on the court.

“I thank each of these very accomplished, capable individuals for their willingness to serve on the Supreme Court,” said Christie. “Not only would Bob and David make outstanding justices, but their nominations also expand the diversity of background, strong experience and qualifications of the court membership — a point made most clear by each man’s previous, unanimous endorsement by the New Jersey Senate.

“Bob and David already have extensive records of public service and accomplishment, and New Jersey is fortunate to have such remarkable individuals continue their service on our state’s highest court.”

The Senate has found Hanna and Bauman both to be unquestionably qualified for serving in the highest positions of government. For their current positions, the Senate Judiciary Committee and the full Senate voted to approve each individual unanimously, with members giving praise to their qualifications.

Bauman, 56, currently sits as the presiding judge of the Civil Division in Monmouth County. After 17 years in private practice, he was nominated in 2008 for the post by Gov. Jon Corzine. He was unanimously approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee and confirmed by the full Senate 37-0.

A veteran, Bauman served four years on active duty with the U.S. Marine Corps, and an additional 12 years as a reservist. On active duty, he served as defense counsel, prosecutor and special counsel with the Naval Investigative Service, trying over 30 jury and bench trials at special and general courts-martial.

Prior to his appointment to the Superior Court, Bauman served for 17 years in private sector law with the firm Bressler, Amery & Ross, including as a partner for 10 years, specializing in complex civil and commercial litigation as well as criminal law. In that capacity, he appeared before the U.S District Court of New Jersey, New York and New Jersey state courts and various administrative agencies.

In addition, Bauman was an active member of a variety of organizations in the law and victim advocacy communities, including the New Jersey Supreme Court Civil Practice Committee; Asian Pacific American Lawyers Association of New Jersey; New Jersey Battered Women’s Legal Advocacy Project; and New Jersey State Bar Association’s Franchise Law Committee and Special Committee on Military Law and Veterans Affairs.

Bauman is a Magna cum laude graduate of Columbia University and received his law degree from Boston College.

Hanna, 54, a lawyer with nearly 30 years of legal experience, has served as president of the Board of Public Utilities since December 2011, when he was unanimously approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee and full Senate for the post. For the two years prior to that, he served as director of the Division of Law and assistant attorney general within the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety.

He served for 16 years in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey, including approximately four years as chief of the Securities and Health Fraud Unit. In that capacity, he supervised ten prosecutors in the investigation and prosecution of major federal securities and health care fraud cases.

Hanna also has 10 years of prior private sector legal experience with the firms Gibbons PC and Cahill, Gordon & Reindel. He is a summa cum laude graduate of Manhattan College and received his law degree from Fordham University, where he served on the Law Review staff.

Both nominations are subject to Senate confirmation.

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