Senate Judiciary Committee Signs off on Platkin

Platkin in his appearance today.

The state Senate Judiciary Committee this afternoon affirmed Matthew J. Platkin of Montclair for the office of state Attorney General, sending Platkin’s nomination to the full senate. Despite stern words from pro-life advocates, including Marie Tasy, executive director of New Jersey Right to Life, opposed to the “pro-abortion” nominee, Platkin went through with one Republican vote of support.

State Senator Jon Bramnick (R-21) said that while he disagrees with Governor Phil Murphy on many policies, and disagrees with politics that emerge from Platkin’s office, finally the issue is whether he’s “qualified not, whether I agree with you.” Platkin, in Bramnick’s judgement, is qualified, he said.

But John Tomicki, director of the New Jersey chapter of the League of American Families, spoke in a punishing way against the nomination, which he said “sends a terrible message to the survivors of sexual violence,” referencing a quote by Katie Brennan, the state official who publicly accused a former top aide to Gov. Phil Murphy of raping her during Murphy’s 2017 campaign.

The Acting AG served as Murphy’s chief counsel during that time.

“Senator Bramnick, I heard what you said,” said Tomicki. “Is he qualified, yes, on paper. But does he really rise to the standard that we want? I think not,” citing the nominee’s pro-abortion public positions.

State Senator Mike Doherty (R-23) – one of two nay votes on the nomination, said “I don’t approve of his performance,” in reference to Platkin’s role as chief counsel during the COVID crisis. “It is unbelievable that he was not advised,” said Doherty. “This whole thing about being cute about not answering questions. But you are implementing policy in the State of New Jersey. It just, to me, your failure to respond to some of the questions indicates what your answer really is. I also am very troubled by the picking of choosing of what laws are to be followed and enforced. …It’s supposed to be blindly enforce the law.

“I don’t have trust you’re going to be even handed; I’m a firm no,” Doherty added.

State Senator Tony Bucco (R-25) registered the second “no” vote. “He has deviated from the core function of… public safety and law enforcement,” Bucco said.

For more on today’s state Senate Judiciary hearing, please go here and here.

“I am grateful for and humbled by the bipartisan support of the Judiciary Committee,” said the acting attorney general. “I appreciate the opportunity to answer questions about my priorities as Attorney General, and to discuss the recent accomplishments of our office. I want to thank Governor Murphy for his trust and support in nominating me to serve the people of this state as New Jersey’s Attorney General. I look forward to receiving consideration of the full Senate.”

InsiderNJ columnist Fred Snowflack will have more on the subject later.

Platkin served as Chief Counsel to the Governor from January 2018 to October 2020. He assumed the role of Acting Attorney General on Monday, February 14, 2022.

Platkin was born and raised in New Jersey, growing up in both Florham Park and Morristown, and graduated from Madison High School. He received his Bachelor of Arts from Stanford University, and his Juris Doctor from Stanford Law School, where he was an editor of the Stanford Law Review. Platkin began his policy career at the Brookings Institution in Washington D.C., advising members of Congress on job growth and economic recovery following the 2008 financial crisis. Following graduation from law school, Platkin practiced law at Debevoise & Plimpton in New York City. From May 2016 to November 2017, Platkin served as Policy Director for Murphy for Governor.

In January 2018, Platkin was named Chief Counsel to the Governor. As Chief Counsel, Platkin oversaw an office of over 20 attorneys that advised the Governor on all legal matters, including legislation, executive orders, and administrative regulations. Platkin also was responsible for coordinating with the Attorney General’s Office on civil matters, including affirmative litigations, and oversaw judicial and prosecutorial nominations.

As Chief Counsel, Platkin spearheaded a number of policy initiatives, including gun safety and the expansion of voting rights, and played a critical role in the negotiations of three approximately $40 billion annual state budgets, according to the Governor’s Office. Additionally, Platkin played a critical role in guiding New Jersey through the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, overseeing the drafting of pandemic-related executive orders and workforce policy reforms for state government employees to maintain government services. He also contributed to the State’s successful defense of pandemic-related actions in dozens of litigations in state and federal court.

Platkin served as Special Counsel to U.S. Senator Cory Booker during the first impeachment trial of President Donald J. Trump. He is currently a partner at Lowenstein Sandler in the White Collar Criminal Defense and Business Litigation practice groups. He is admitted to the bar in New Jersey and New York.

Platkin resides in Montclair with his wife Sophia and their son, Robert.


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