Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester) was supported by advocates for seniors and the disabled as well as union and construction representatives. With the deadline for final legislative approval of a proposed constitutional amendment to boost public-employee pension funding now just days away, it appears more likely than ever that it will not be put before voters… Read the rest of this entry »Posted: August 5th, 2016 | Author: admin | Filed under: New Jersey, News | Tags: Constitutional Amendment, news, NJ Pensions, Senate President Steve Sweeney | Comments Off on Guaranteed Funding for State Pensions Probably Won’t Make Ballot
TRENTON — New Jersey’s largest group of lawyers today called for a rewrite in the state constitution that would strengthen job security for the state’s judges and Supreme Court justices. After seeing Gov. Chris Christie deny reappointment to two Supreme…
admin | Filed under: New Jersey, NJ Constitution, NJ Judiciary, NJ State Legislature | Tags: Constitutional Amendment, Judges Tenure, New Jersey Bar Association, New Jersey Judiciary | Comments Off on Reacting to Christie, NJ lawyers call for constitutional amendment to protect judges
Never mind the 1% to 99% rhetoric that has worked its way into our lexicon since the Occupy movement moved into Zuccotti Park. With yesterday’s 3-2 decision that judges are exempt from New Jersey’s pension and health benefits reform, our State’s judiciary have declared themselves the .005%. They are the truly elite. The 400 of New Jersey’s 8.8 million citizens. They don’t have to share in the sacrifice.
As Governor Christie said in Atlantic City yesterday,
“What we did, the administration and the Legislature, was demand that everybody in public employment pay their fair share for the benefits they’re going to get like people in the private sector do every day. And I cannot believe that we’re going to permit one small sector of folks (to be exempt), who consider themselves special, and who by the way granted themselves this special treatment themselves. That doesn’t make any sense to me.’’
“If you’re a police officer, or a fire fighter, or a teacher in this state, and you’re paying more for your health benefits and your pension, I’ve got a feeling you’re pretty frosted if it turns out that a group of judges decides for the whole group of judges that they don’t have to pay their fair share.’’
Christie told NJ 101.5’s audience on his monthly Ask the Governor show last night that if the legislature puts a Constitutional Amendment on the ballot this fall, he will campaign for it. That will be the easiest campaign in the history of the world. There will likely be 3.9 million New Jerseyans voting on November 6. There are about 400 judges. If all of the judges got all of their family members and friends to vote against the Constitutional Amendment, would that add up to even 10,000 votes? I don’t think so.
As Senator Joe Kyrillos said yesterday, “Judicial independence does not mean judicial supremacy and exceptionalism.” If the legislature acts by August 6, and it looks as though they will, the people of New Jersey will be sending the Judicial branch an overwhelming reminder that they work for us. In America, even in New Jersey, the people are Sovereign. “All political power is inherent in the people.”
Even though there is not much time, the legislature should consider recommending other changes to Article VI, Section VI of the State Constitution to the people, since we’ll be making changes to the clause anyway.
Is seven years too long before a Judge is reviewed and reconfirmed? How about 3 or 4 years? Is tenure after 7 years, if reconfirmed, until mandatory retirement at age 70 still appropriate? How about a review and reconfirmation every 4, 5, or 7 years until retirement. When the retirement age of 70 for judges was affirmed by Constitutional Amendment in 1978, the average life expectancy in the United States was 73.5. Now, the average life expectancy is 78. Why not increase the mandatory retirement age to 75 or 80? How about establishing a voluntary retirement age before being eligible to collect a pension at 70. Those would create some pension savings.
The Judiciary has given the Legislature an opportunity to make substantive adjustments to the .005%’s superiority and exceptionalism.
As Governor Christie told a Town Hall meeting audience in Garfield on May 2, it is extraordinarily difficult to hold judges accountable in New Jersey. Now would be a good time to make some changes.
Posted: July 25th, 2012 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: Legislature, New Jersey, NJ Courts, NJ Judiciary, NJ Supreme Court | Tags: .005%, Constitutional Amendment, Governor Chris Christie, Legislature, NJ Courts, NJ Judiciary, NJ Supreme Court | 7 Comments »
Reiterates his call for the issue to be decided by the people via referendum
Calls for the establishment of an Ombudsman to enforce the Civil Union Law
Governor Chris Christie sent S-1, the Marriage Equality and Religious Exemptions Act, back to the legislature this afternoon with his conditional veto.
Christie issued the following statement regarding his action:
“Today, I am adhering to what I’ve said since this bill was first introduced – an issue of this magnitude and importance, which requires a constitutional amendment, should be left to the people of New Jersey to decide. I continue to encourage the Legislature to trust the people of New Jersey and seek their input by allowing our citizens to vote on a question that represents a profoundly significant societal change. This is the only path to amend our State Constitution and the best way to resolve the issue of same-sex marriage in our state.
“I have been just as adamant that same-sex couples in a civil union deserve the very same rights and benefits enjoyed by married couples – as well as the strict enforcement of those rights and benefits. Discrimination should not be tolerated and any complaint alleging a violation of a citizen’s right should be investigated and, if appropriate, remedied. To that end, I include in my conditional veto the creation of a strong Ombudsman for Civil Unions to carry on New Jersey’s strong tradition of tolerance and fairness. The Ombudsman will be charged with increasing awareness of the law regarding civil unions, will provide a clear point of contact for those who have questions or concerns and will be required to report any evidence of the law being violated. In this way, we can ensure equal treatment under the law.”
A copy of the Conditional Veto can be found here.Posted: February 17th, 2012 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: Chris Christie, Marriage Equality, Marriage Equality and Religious Exemptions Act | Tags: Chris Christie, civil unions, Conditional Veto, Constitutional Amendment, Gay Marriage, Marriage Equality, Marriage Equality and Religious Exemptions Act, Ombudsman, Referendum, S-1, Same Sex Marriage | 4 Comments »