TRENTON - Gov. Chris Christie's most recent pick for the state Supreme Court is advancing toward approval.
Former federal prosecutor Walter Timpone's nomination was approved Thursday by the Senate Judiciary Committee. He now needs to be approved by the full Senate.
His nomination was part of a deal the Republican governor made with state Senate Democrats to end a stalemate over the court vacancy.
Christie had announced earlier this year that he would name Monmouth County judge David Bauman to the top court. But Senate President Steve Sweeney vowed Bauman would not get a vote.
Timpone serves as a commissioner on the state's Election Law Enforcement Commission. He's a senior partner at McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney and Carpenter and also serves as a board attorney to a New Jersey laborers' union.
If Timpone is approved, it would mark the first time the state Supreme Court was full in six years.
Timpone’s appointment is not without issues. In 2002 he received an appointment from Gov. Christie to be his assistant U.S. attorney. However the appointment was ultimately withdrawn after he reportedly met with a U.S. senator who was under federal investigation.
The New Jersey Senate is expected to vote Monday on the appointment.
If Timpone is confirmed, it will open his seat on the NJ Election Law Enforcement Commission. The commission already has two other open seats. The governor has said he will act to appoint another commissioner by this summer.
The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.