New Jersey Judges Get Schooled in the Constitution


Put a ballot question to New Jersey voters and it usually gets mindlessly passed*.  Of the 102 public questions since 1980 (as gleaned from this wonderful website), 93 have passed but in only two instances has the margins been as great as  the 83% for 2012 Public Question #2 to “approve an amendment to the New Jersey Constitution, as agreed to by the Legislature, to allow contributions set by law to be taken from the salaries of Supreme Court Justices and Superior Court Judges for their employee benefits”.  In 1984 86% of voters wanted Senior Citizen clubs to be able to run raffles and in 1991 85% of voters wanted to “entitle crime victims to fairness, compassion and respect by the criminal justice system.”

What does this mean for judges in New Jersey?

If the legislature now has the power to make judges pay for their benefits couldn’t they now make them pay the entire cost?  A pension of 75%-of-pay accruing over 10 years to a 55-year-old making $165,000 could easily cost over $100,000 annually.  Add on the cost of a family insurance plan ($20,000?) plus various tax withholding and theoretically a judge could be pocketing a biweekly paycheck in the low triple-digits.

Is that fair?

Unfortunately for the judges, that’s not for them to decide any longer.

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* Among the 9 that were voted down was bonding for a MLB stadium in 1987, not being able to use casino revenue for homestead rebates in 1985, allowing municipal court judges to be appointed by statute in 2008, bonding for affordable housing in 1990, extending terms for sheriffs from 3 to 5 years in 1986, allowing riparian lands (eminent domain?) in 1982 and allowing Sunday racing in 1980.  Among those that passed but not with with as big a margin as the judge’s question were 76% for being able to recall elected officials in 1993 and 79% for Megan’s law outing sex offenders in 2000.

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8 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Anonymous on November 7, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    If it goes to the supreme court judges will prevail, wont they?

    Reply

    • Posted by muni-man on November 8, 2012 at 8:17 am

      ‘If it goes to the Supreme Court’ – what are you talking about? Voters just gave the legislature the authority to amend the constitution and force judges to pay a lot more for their benefits. Although it’s still an insufficient amount, it’s long overdue for these elitists and they’ve got absolutely no say about it now! Thankfully, the voters, not judges, had the final say on this issue. The quality of NJ’s jurisprudence won’t suffer one iota either as a result of this – it’s abjectly mediocre record at best, will continue full bore.

      On the other hand, it looks like the education cartel is still thriving since the $750M bond issue passed. Gotta keep adding to and upgrading the physical plant so it’s vibrant for the legions of college ‘scholars’ that are in the equivalent of grade-school remedial programs, to say nothing of all those pursuing highly demanding regimens like B.A.(Texting) and M.S.(Tweeting) that require cutting-edge labs, etc. Once again, the public falls for the never-ending ‘more $’s for education’ scamola.

      Reply

      • Posted by Anonymous on November 9, 2012 at 11:23 am

        @muni-man: If you were a private attorney, would you even remotely consider trying to become a judge? Remember, they are not able to do ANY side work whatsoever. Even before this amendment passed, the running joke was “what do you call a lawyer who finished in the bottom tenth of his class? A: Your honor” . Most, but not all, were quite frankly political hacks, appointed by the elected cronies as payback. Very rarely would you see a lawyer bringing down $500,000 or so take a “step down” to become a judge. You may actually see a lower brand of political hack on the bench now. I do not think it is any better in NY where they elect their judges. As you can attest to, elected officials usually wind up screwing everything up even more, it is just easier to get rid of them. Perhaps you should make a run for public office yourself to further your agenda and bring some sanity back to the world.

        Reply

  2. Posted by Tough Love on November 7, 2012 at 11:28 pm

    They should pay HALF (a REAL true HALF, not a half based on phony assumptions) of that very RICH pension ….. or not get it.

    And 75% of their retiree healthcare (most Private Sector Taxpayers get nothing).

    Taxpayers are tired of being the suckers in the equation.

    Reply

    • Posted by Anonymous on November 12, 2012 at 5:29 pm

      TL we need to you to run for office!!! Bring some sanity back to this pension mess. You seem well qualified to do this based on your answers. Please, run. We need men like you to put on end to this nonsense!!! It is nice that you continually opine on this blog, but for your ideas to really gain traction(I.e. ending accruals for current workers, etc) it would be better if you actually were in a position of power to do something. Please stand up for the silent majority.

      Reply

  3. Posted by Javagold on November 8, 2012 at 10:44 am

    Pigs get fed….. Hogs get slaughtered

    The pension collapses start in 2013

    Reply

  4. [...] Let's see what was going on in New Jersey: [...]

    Reply

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