Brick Township Mayor John Ducey has been nominated by Gov. Phil Murphy for an appointment to the bench, Shorebeat confirmed late Monday.
Ducey was one of several nominees included in a notice of intention filed by Murphy’s office Monday. Ducey, if the nomination is approved by a legislative panel, would serve as a Superior Court judge and would be assigned to a county vicinage. It was not publicly announced whether that vicinage would be the Ocean County system or somewhere else in the state; New Jersey is currently suffering from a judicial shortage, requiring multiple retired judges in Ocean County to head back behind the bench on a temporary basis.
Ducey’s father-in-law, the late Harold Corley White, notably served as both a superior court judge and prosecutor during his legal career. Ducey has served as Brick mayor since 2014 following a two-year stint on the township council. He is a solo practitioner with a legal office on Herbertsville Road.
“It is an honor to be nominated by the Governor for this very important position,” Ducey said. “This is just a step in the process and hopefully I am lucky enough to make it through the rest of the way.”
In New Jersey, the superior court functions as a trial-level court, broken into several divisions handling criminal, civil, family and chancery cases. An appellate division hears statewide appeals before cases move onto the state Supreme Court. Superior court judges are nominated by the governor – traditionally with the informal consent of local district legislators – and formally confirmed by the state senate for an initial term of seven years. If reappointed, a judge can serve until the mandatory retirement age of 70, though as noted, veteran judges in recent years have been recalled to fill vacancies.
It was largely assumed that Ducey, one of the most popular mayors in Brick Township history who handily won two re-election bids, would seek a fourth term in 2025. His early departure would likely mean that the township will hold a special mayoral election in November, turning a solidly-held Democratic mayoral seat into a hotly-contested race as the county’s Republican establishment remains locked in its own internal divisions.
Under Brick’s system of government, a mayoral vacancy can be filled temporarily by a nominee appointed by the township council before the seat would automatically become up for grabs during the following general election.