Despite being the oldest judicial vacancy in New Jersey, and the country, the seat vacated by Judge Faith Hochberg in March 2015 sat for months without a nominee. However, on December 15, the Biden Administration finally sent the nomination of solo practitioner Evelyn Padin to fill the vacancy.
Evelyn Padin received a B.A. from Rutgers University of Delaware in 1983, and a M.S.W. from Fordham University in 1985, before spending four years as a social worker. Padin then obtained a J.D. from Seton Hall University School of Law and joined the firm of Linares & Coviello in 1992, working with future federal judge Jose Linares. Padin left to start her own practice in 1995 and has maintained it ever since.
In addition, Padin has been active in the New Jersey State Bar Association, including serving as the First Latina Secretary in 2014 and later serving as President of the Association in 2019. She also served as a member of the NJ Secretary of Higher Education’s Campus Sexual Assault Commission and the NJ Puerto Rico Commission.
History of the Seat
The seat Padin has been nominated for opened on March 6, 2015, with Judge Faith Hochberg’s move to senior status. The Obama Administration nominated Julien Neals to fill this vacancy, but Neals was blocked by the then-Republican controlled Senate (Neals was subsequently renominated to a different seat by President Biden and confirmed). Due to a dispute over nominees between New Jersey Senators Robert Menendez and Cory Booker and the Trump Administration, no nominee to fill a district court vacancy in New Jersey was put forward by Trump. Padin was nominated to fill the vacancy on December 15, 2021.
Padin has spent her entire career practicing in Jersey City, where she focuses on family law and personal injury matters. For example, Padin represented two women in suing the Jersey City Police Department, and the owner of a residential building, after a man with outstanding warrants broke into the building and attacked one of the women, pushing her out of a window and killing her child. See New Jersey: Jersey City Man Charged With Killing Son Also Faces Lawsuits From His Ex, Her Friend, U.S. Official News, Apr. 28, 2015.
Additionally, as President of the New Jersey State Bar Association, Padin frequently participated as amicus in cases before the Supreme Court of New Jersey. See, e.g., S.C. v. New Jersey Dep’t of Children & Families, 231 A.3d 576 (N.J. 2020); Nieves v. Adolf, 230 A.3d 227 (N.J. 2020); Estate of Van Riper v. Director, Div. of Taxation, 226 A.3d 55 (N.J. 2020); Balducci v. Cige, 223 A.3d 1229 (N.J. 2020); Meisels v. Fox Rothschild LLP, 222 A.3d 649 (N.J. 2020). Notably, the Bar Association, as amicus, argued that the Fifth Amendment protected against the compelled disclosure of passcodes to cellphones seized by law, a position rejected by a 4-3 majority of the New Jersey Supreme Court. State v. Andrews, 234 A.3d 1254 (N.J. 2020).
In other matters, Padin received an admonishment from the Supreme Court of New Jersey’s Review Board on March 6, 2001 (the subject of the admonishment is unclear as the Board’s records only go back five years), which was vacated and dismissed by the New Jersey Supreme Court, which ruled that there was not clear and convincing evidence supporting the admonishment. See In re Padin, 791 A.2d 196 (N.J. 2002).
Padin has a few political contributions to her name, all to Democrats, including Menendez and Booker.
From an Administration pushing to draw nominees from unusual backgrounds, Padin, a sixty-year-old litigator active in the state bar, makes for a relatively safe choice. The White House can nonetheless point to her background as a social worker in arguing that Padin will bring a unique perspective to the federal bench.
Evelyn Padin is certain qualified to be a federal judge but I’m sorry, she is 60 years old. We need nominees a decade (Or even two decades) younger. This caps off the six New Jersey selections which bar none have been the worse out of any court during the Biden administration to date.
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The political contributions to both NJ senators certainly couldn’t have hurt the chances for Padin. Of the NI nominees, most seemed to have given one or both NJ senator or democratic representative a political donation at some point in time.
I lose respect for her with the donations to Menendez (unless they were before this scumbag was under investigation/indictment). In addition to the corruption, there are allegations that this guy solicited prostitutes in the Dominican Republic that the FBI considered credible. Menendez belongs in a federal prison, not the US Senate.
Honestly I don’t know if I would have voted for Menendez in 2018 in New Jersey even as the deciding seat for the majority. He is probably the worst senator in the Democratic caucus by a good margin.
Padlin seems to have progressive credentials and be qualified. The only complaint progressives may have against her is her age. She fits their bill otherwise.
Exactly @ Mitch. Same thing with Trisha Thompson. If their birth years were 1981 instead of 1962 they would both be solid. I don’t have the same complaint of Charles Fleming em despite his 1962 birth year because his nomination is in a state with at least 1 Republican senator so I don’t expect solid young progressives in those states unless it’s part of a broader deal in which the Democrat senator picks a certain number of nominees for every 1 the Republican senator gets. But in states with two Dems, I am greedy & want progressive nominees as well as them to be on the younger side.
Age is a damn important thing. If Padin was 15 years younger I would give this appointment a B+. As it is I would give it at best a C-.
Yup, exactly correct. There are few exceptions to the old age not mattering as much. One would be a district court seat in a purple or red state. Another would be where the nominee is by far the best possible nominee for the state despite the older age (Example: Beth Robinson).
In this case neither are fit either of those reasons. New Jersey senators great at holding seats vacant during Republican administrations, they are just horrible at recommending young, progressives to a Democrat White House.
If she were born in 1983 instead of having graduated that year, she would be a fine nominee.
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It seems the Biden White House gives District Court nominations less attention than the Circuit Court nominees. Of course, the Trump Administration did the same thing.
Love the unabashed ageism! RBG was 60 when she was appointed to SCOTUS. She managed to be competent and capable, no? Evelyn’s problem isn’t her age; it is her acumen and intellect. She is in no way capable of doing the job of a USDJ.
Unfortunately age is part of the deal my friend. Trump packed the courts with young conservatives. We simply do not need 60 year old’s on the federal bench to counter that in my opinion, but especially in blue states where blue slip issues do not come in to play. If this was s district court seat in a purple or red state I would say ok, this was the best deal they could get. But New Jersey has plenty of lawyers who are just as,, if not more progressive that are one to two decades younger.