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Know a Nominee: Paul Matey to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals

Do you support or oppose Matey's confirmation?

by Countable | 3.10.19

(Updated 3/12/19): The Senate confirmed Paul Matey to be a judge on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals on a 54-45 vote Tuesday, with all Republicans and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) voting in favor.


The Senate is expected to consider the nomination of Paul Matey to be a judge on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals this week, starting with a procedural vote on Monday. Here’s what you need to know about the nominee:

Who is he?

  • Paul Matey, 48, is a lawyer and partner at Lowenstein Sandler LLP, where he’s worked since 2018. He graduated with honors from Seton Hall University School of Law in 2001.
  • He then clerked for Judge John Lifland on the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, and for Judge Robert Cowen on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit (Matey is now nominated for Cowen’s old seat).
  • After his clerkships, Matey joined Kellogg, Hansen, Todd, Figel & Frederick LLC as an associate where he worked for a time with current Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch. In 2005, he joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey, working under then-U.S. Attorney Chris Christie. 
  • When Christie was elected governor of New Jersey in 2009, Matey joined the governor’s office as Assistant Counsel. He later was elevated to be Senior Counsel and Deputy Chief Counsel. In 2015, Matey was hired to be General Counsel for University Hospital in Newark — his last position prior to his current role at Lowenstein Sandler.

What’s the outlook for his confirmation?

  • Christie recommended the Trump administration nominate Matey to the Third Circuit after Trump’s election, but his nomination was delayed until April 2018 after a proposed deal with New Jersey’s Democratic Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker to return their “blue slips” on Matey’s nomination in exchange for nominations being made to New Jersey’s federal district courts.
  • That deal never materialized and the Senate Judiciary Committee ended the practice of giving nominees’ home state senators the power to veto a nomination by not returning a blue slip, so Matey’s nomination continued despite the lack of a returned blue slip.
  • The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced Matey’s nomination on a party-line 12-10 vote on February 7, 2019, with Republicans voting in favor.
  • Among the concerns Democrats have raised are his conservative judicial philosophy, membership in the Federalist Society, and that he’s being nominated over better qualified candidates because of his close relationship with Christie.
  • A majority of the American Bar Association’s review panel gave Matey a rating of “qualified”, while a minority of the panel gave him a rating of “not qualified”.

What does it mean for the Third Circuit?

  • Matey’s confirmation would fill a vacant position on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals that became vacant in 2016 when Judge Julio M. Fuentes, a Clinton appointee, assumed senior status. His duty station would be in Newark, New Jersey.
  • The Third Circuit has 14 judges, of whom two were appointed by Bill Clinton, four by George W. Bush, four by Barack Obama, and two by Donald Trump. Prior to Matey’s confirmation there are two vacancies on the bench.


— Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStock.com / imaginima)

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