TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Gov. Phil Murphy has announced plans to re-nominate Justice Anne Patterson, a Republican appointee of former Gov. Chris Christie, to another term on the state Supreme Court, signaling his intention of maintaining New Jersey’s traditional partisan balance of judges on the state’s highest court.

The decision announced Thursday will give Patterson tenure on the court — and contains some irony.

Shortly after Christie took office in 2010, he bucked a decades-old state tradition of re-nominating judges by unseating Democratic Justice John Wallace Jr. and trying to replace her with Patterson. He later backed off and appointed Patterson to fill the seat of outgoing Republican Justice Roberto Rivera-Soto.

The seven-member panel has three Democrats, three Republicans and one unaffiliated justice. Justices get initial seven-year terms and then become eligible for tenure.

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