Humoring Judges

The Judicial Retirement System is projected to go broke in two years* and the New Jersey legislature is taking action. According to njspotlight:

Under a bipartisan bill that cleared its first committee hurdle earlier this week, the 15-member investment council would be expanded to include a new position that would represent the interests of members of the state’s Judicial Retirement System (JRS), the pension plan for judges of the Appellate, Superior, Supreme and Tax courts.


The State Investment Council doesn’t directly administer benefits or manage the various government pension systems’ investments on a day-to-day basis, but instead plays an administrative role, overseeing things like investment strategy and the distribution of pooled pension-fund stakes in stocks, bonds and other assets.


The bill sponsored by Sens. Christopher “Kip” Bateman (R-Somerset) and Nicholas Scutari (D-Union) would officially add one more seat to the SIC’s roster as a matter of law. The measure passed the Senate committee on Monday in a 5-0 vote.

For the legislature it’s mission accomplished – assuming the mission is to distract.


S3871 Adds member from Judicial Retirement System to State Investment Council.
2nd Reading in the Senate


Identical Bill Number: A5427

Bateman, Christopher   as Primary Sponsor
Scutari, Nicholas P.   as Primary Sponsor

6/3/2019 Introduced in the Senate, Referred to Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation Committee
11/18/2019 Reported from Senate Committee, 2nd Reading
Introduced – – 4 pages PDF Format    HTML Format
Statement – SSG 11/18/19 – 1 pages PDF Format    HTML Format

Committee Voting:
SSG  11/18/2019  –  r/favorably  –  Yes {5}  No {0}  Not Voting {0}  Abstains {0}  –  Roll Call

  Beach, James (C) – Yes Cruz-Perez, Nilsa (V) – Yes Brown, Chris A. – Yes
  Thompson, Samuel D. – Yes Turner, Shirley K. – Yes

* Go broke on paper that is. What they will likely do is operate it on a pay-as-you-go basis with the calculated contribution amount being equal to the benefit payments.

7 responses to this post.

  1. This is idiotic.

    The reason their funds are running out have little to do with investment policy, and have everything to do with contribution policy.


  2. Posted by Marine1 on November 23, 2019 at 6:43 pm

    No idea why they would even bother trying to humor the Judges. They will always pay a Judges pension in this state no matter the economic circumstances. They will close schools,lay off cops,etc. before they will ever short a Judges pension. Anyone who doesn’t believe that really has zero understanding on how this state is run. End of story.


    • Posted by Tough Love on November 23, 2019 at 6:57 pm

      I agree that the judges monthly pension will continue to be paid even after their Plan’s assets run out.

      But what WILL be interesting is exactly how and from which accounts they get the money. Given the “relatively” small amounts involved, they might even be transparent and “appropriate” the funds as part of the Budget process.

      Now try doing this for the Teacher’s Plans when HUGE amounts will be necessary to keep up with monthly payouts. A LOT of other NECESSARY stuff won’t get funded or taxes will need to go through the roof. And NOT to too far in the future.

      The first step in digging yourself out of a deep financial hole is to STOP DIGGING. Time to shut future accruals down for ALL current workers (in ALL of NJ’s DB pension Plans), NOT just for new and unvested workers.


    • Without question, almost (if not all) of the appointed judges in N.J. are politically connected with long “party resumes”. The position is usually a reward for loyalty. I believe they are eligible for a pension after only 10 years.
      Perhaps a better way to “appoint” judges would be to have a competitive process similar to that for becoming a police officer. Tests, education background, Interview, and long “probationary” periods (judges should be IMO at least 35 years of age) where they are trained by current judges , observation periods of attorneys practicing cases etc. instead of being a buddy of a senator when a spot comes up, with the idea that they can secure a pension for a decade of work. As it is, they can’t be fired without a LOT of serious issues. At least this way, the politics is out of it and they are judges for far longer putting somewhat less of a strain on the JRS. I feel they should be well compensated as well. The idea being that if they are good, we don’t want to lose them to private practice, as we do many prosecutors and public defenders.


      • Posted by Tough Love on November 23, 2019 at 10:11 pm

        NJ Judges pension Plan retirement formula:

        Service Retirement (Judicial Service Only)

        If you retire at:
        • Age 70 with 10 or more years of judicial service; or

        • Age 65 or older with 15 or more years of judicial service; or

        • Age 60 or older with 20 or more years of judicial service;

        Your annual benefit is calculated at 75 percent of Final Salary


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