New Jersey Supreme Court
|New Jersey Supreme Court|
|Location:||Trenton, New Jersey|
|Method:||Gubernatorial appointment of judges|
|Term:||7 years; until age 70|
|Justice Jaynee LaVecchia||2000-2024|
|Justice Barry Albin||2002-2022||Gov. Jon Corzine|
|Chief Justice Stuart Rabner||2007-Present||Gov. Jon Corzine|
|Justice Anne Patterson (New Jersey)||2011-2018||Gov. Chris Christie|
|Presiding Judge; Temporary Justice Mary Cuff||1994-2017; 2012-Present|
|Temporary Justice Ariel Rodriguez||2012-Present|
|Justice Faustino J. Fernandez-Vina||2014-2020||Gov. Chris Christie|
|Justice Lee A. Solomon||2014-2021|
The court consists of seven justices, one of which is the court's chief justice. Justices of the New Jersey Supreme Court are nominated by the governor; one week after the public notice issued by the governor, the nominees must pass the "advice and consent" of the state senate. After seven years of serving, the governor can then determine whether to tenure the justice. Justices are selected to complete the partisan balance; the governor has the opportunity to appoint justices to have a one-seat advantage, but may go no further than that.
According to Article VI, Section VI of the New Jersey Constitution, "The justices of the Supreme Court and the judges of the Superior Court shall each prior to his appointment have been admitted to the practice of law in this State for at least 10 years."
The chief justice of the court is also appointed by the governor, and is considered the administrative head of the state judiciary.
Past chief justices
The following individuals have served as chief justice:
- 1779-1789: David Brearley
- 1789-1803: James Kinsey
- 1804-1825: Andrew Kirkpatrick
- 1824-1832: Charles Ewing
- 1901-1933: William Stryker Gummere
- 1933-1946: Thomas Brogan
- 1946-1948: Clarence Case
- 1948-1957: Arthur Vanderbilt
- 1957-1973: Joseph Weintraub
- 1973-1973: Pierre Garven
- 1973-1979: Richard Hughes
- 1979-1996: Robert Wilentz
- 1996-2006: Deborah Poritz
- 2006-2007: James Zazzali
- 2007- : Stuart Rabner
The New Jersey Supreme Court is an appellate court with no original jurisdiction. The court may hear appeals if the case involves a constitutional question, if a judge in the Appellate Division dissented, if capital punishment is used, or the court granted "certification," or if the case involves redistricting. The court also has administrative power over the state's courts and attorneys.
If the New Jersey Redistricting Commission does not agree on the manner of redistricting Congressional districts in New Hampshire, the Supreme Court finalizes the decision.
The New Jersey Judiciary has not provided disposition statistics for the years 2010 or 2012 in its annual reports.
In October 2012, political science professors Adam Bonica and Michael Woodruff of Stanford University attempted to determine the partisan outlook of state supreme court justices in their paper, State Supreme Court Ideology and 'New Style' Judicial Campaigns. A score above 0 indicated a more conservative leaning ideology while scores below 0 were more liberal. The state Supreme Court of New Jersey was given a campaign finance score (CFscore) which was calculated for judges in October 2012. At that time, New Jersey received a score of 0.05. Based on the justices selected, New Jersey was the 23th most conservative court. The study is based on data from campaign contributions by judges themselves, the partisan leaning of contributors to the judges or, in the absence of elections, the ideology of the appointing body (governor or legislature). This study is not a definitive label of a justice but rather, an academic gauge of various factors.
In December 2013, the Center for Public Integrity released a study on disclosure requirements for state supreme court judges. Analysts from the Center reviewed the rules governing financial disclosure in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, as well as personal financial disclosures for the past three years. The study found that 42 states and Washington D.C. received failing grades. New Jersey earned a grade of F in the study. No state received a grade higher than "C". Furthermore, due in part to these lax disclosure standards, the study found 35 instances of questionable gifts, investments overlapping with caseloads and similar potential ethical quandaries. The study also noted 14 cases in which justices participated although they or their spouses held stock in the company involved in the litigation.
Removal of justices
To remove a judge, the court may notify the governor of "incapacitation," which then must be determined by a three person commission; a justice may also be impeached by the general assembly and tried by the senate.
The state created a Constitution in 1776, which included the "Court of Appeals," the then court of last resort. The supreme court was mentioned, however, nothing was written on it other than seven-year term limits for its justices.
After complaints of the prior Constitution of 1776, in 1844, the state created a new constitution, continuing the "non-supreme Supreme Court." The New Jersey Court of Errors and Appeals replaced the prior Court of Appeals. The primary difference between this new court and the previous court is that judges were no longer legislators. Instead, the court became nonpartisan and did not intertwine with the other branches of government.
- New Jersey
- New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division
- New Jersey judicial news
- New Jersey blogs
- News: NJ Supreme Court fastracks pension lawsuit, November 28, 2011
- News: Seats shuffling on New Jersey Supreme Court, June 13, 2011
- New Jersey Courts, "Supreme Court Justices' Biographies"
- USA Today, "New Jersey court to allow same-sex marriages," October 18, 2013
- Courier Post, "Man who admitted robbing Deptford bank due to be freed," November 21, 2013
- New Jersey Courts, "Supreme Court of New Jersey," accessed January 29, 2015
- Wikisource, "New Jersey Constitution of 1947"
- The Founding Fathers: New Jersey - David Brearly, National Archives and Records Administration. Accessed November 27, 2007.
- James Kinsey, Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Accessed August 15, 2007.
- Manuscript Group 283, Ewing Family (Trenton, NJ), accessed January 9, 2007.
- New Jersey Judiciary, 2011-2012 Annual Report
- New Jersey Judiciary, 2010-2011 Annual Report
- New Jersey Judiciary, 2009-2010 Annual Report
- New Jersey Judiciary, 2008-2009 Annual Report
- New Jersey Judiciary, 2007-2008 Annual Report
- Stanford University, "State Supreme Court Ideology and 'New Style' Judicial Campaigns," October 31, 2012
- Center for Public Integrity, "State supreme court judges reveal scant financial information," December 5, 2013
|Former||William Brennan (U.S. Supreme Court) • Virginia Long • John Wallace (New Jersey) • Roberto Rivera-Soto • Helen Hoens • Mahlon Pitney • Dorothea Wefing • Richard L. Clifford •|