A "squeaky clean" lawyer who investigated racial profiling by New Jersey state police, and now works as an employment lawyer in Philadelphia, is under consideration for a judgeship.
Gov. Corzine has informed the Senate he intends to nominate Terrence Randall Cook, 40, of Willingboro, to be a Superior Court judge in Burlington County, officials confirmed this week.
Cook, a member of the Burlington County Community College Board of Trustees, is honest and fair, according to supporters, and therefore an outstanding choice for the bench in New Jersey, where there are 39 vacancies across the state.
Cook is among 20 lawyers the governor intends to nominate next week. Three others have been nominated but not yet confirmed.
"He's one of the few people in New Jersey who is squeaky clean," said Robert Messina, president of Burlington County College. "He does what's in the best interest of the students."
In 2005, acting Gov. Richard J. Codey appointed Cook to the college's board.
"All his decisions on the board are thoughtful. He's very fair and he's very articulate," Messina said. Corzine "could not have made a better choice."
Cook, a supervisory trial lawyer for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Philadelphia, declined to comment yesterday.
Before going to the EEOC, Cook worked for the New Jersey Attorney General's Office, where his responsibilities included investigating racial profiling by state police. He is a 1998 graduate of Temple University School of Law and has worked in private practice.
If confirmed by the Senate, Cook would be assigned to fill the Burlington County seat that will open July 1, when Judge Thomas S. Smith Jr. retires, officials said.
Late last week, Corzine sent the Senate a notice of intention, as required by law, to nominate Cook for the vacancy. The name must go before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which will decide whether to send the nomination to the full Senate for confirmation.
Corzine's press secretary, Robert Corrales, said Cook was under consideration, but as a matter of policy officials in the Governor's Office do not comment before confirmation.
Although judicial appointments can be political, both Republican and Democratic officials in Burlington County spoke highly of Cook.
Burlington County Republican Party Chairman Bill Layton, who previously served with Cook on the BCC Board of Trustees, said Cook - who is African American - would bring diversity to the bench.
"Terry's really a great guy," said Layton, who noted Cook was nonpartisan. "He's curious and was always asking very good questions."
Burlington County Democratic Party Chairman Rick Perr called Cook the "ideal candidate" for the job.
"It's a great selection from Gov. Corzine," Perr said. "He's a highly qualified candidate."