AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. John Baldacci on Monday nominated Maine Superior Court Justice Joseph Jabar of Waterville to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.
Jabar, if confirmed, will replace Justice Robert Clifford, who is being nominated as active retired associate justice to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.
“These nominees bring a great depth of experience and judicial temperament to the bench,” Baldacci said, referring to the slate of nominees — including Jabar — announced Monday. “I am confident that those I have named will serve the state with utmost diligence, contributing their talent and wisdom to Maine’s citizens and courts.”
Jabar has served on the Superior Court since 2001. Before his service on the bench, Jabar served in private practice for 22 years at the law firm Jabar, Batten, Ringer and Murphy. He served in the Legislature from 1996 to 1999. He is a graduate of Colby College and the University of Maine School of Law.
Bangor lawyer Brett Baber said Monday that Jabar would be a great asset to the court.
“Personally, I think he will bring a unique perspective to Law Court given his legislative and judicial background along with the many years he spent in private practice,” Baber said.
In that sense, Jabar has some of the same skills as the man he’s replacing. Justice Clifford was in private practice in Lewiston and a member of the Legislature before being appointed to the Superior Court bench in 1979. Clifford was appointed to the state’s high court six years later.
Jabar has collected one accolade in his career that none of his colleagues has — he has been inducted into the Cape Cod Baseball League Hall of Fame.
He was inducted in 2003, according to his son Jason Jabar, 36, who practices law in Waterville at his father’s former firm.
“Dad still holds some pitching records there,” the younger Jabar said Monday. “He played for the Chatham A’s. He probably could have continued on and had a baseball career, but chose to go into the law.”
Justice Jabar also was inducted into the Maine Baseball Hall of Fame for his high school and college career.
Joseph Jabar was the youngest of eight children and a first-generation American of Lebanese descent, Jason Jabar said. The judge grew up in the area of Waterville known as the head-of-falls. His father was a textile worker and, eventually, a union leader.
“He had a very humble upbringing,” the son said of his father. “He worked hard for everything he got.”
Members of the large extended Jabar family often look to his father for guidance, Jason Jabar said.
“He has more integrity than anybody I’ve ever known as far as doing the right thing goes,” he said.
Jason Jabar said the he did not grow up wanting to be an attorney.
“Dad never really brought his work home, so I can’t say I learned skills as a lawyer growing up,” Jason Jabar said. “It is something I’m well suited for. But, maybe it was all those debates I had with my dad over dinner.”
Also on Monday, the governor’s office announced the following judicial nominations:
— Justice Samuel Collins Jr. as active retired associate justice to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.
— Judge Ronald Daigle and Judge James MacMichael as active retired District Court Judges.
— Beth Dobson and Daniel Driscoll to the District Court.
Judicial nominees must be reviewed by the Judiciary Committee and confirmed by the full Senate. A Senate confirmation session is scheduled for Aug. 24.