New Jersey Supreme Court

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New Jersey Supreme Court
Court information
Justices:   7
Founded:   1776
Location:   Trenton, New Jersey
Chief:  $193,000
Associates:  $185,000
Judicial selection
Method:   Gubernatorial appointment of judges
Term:   7 years; until age 70
Active justices

Jaynee LaVecchia  •  Barry Albin  •  Stuart Rabner  •  Anne Patterson (New Jersey)  •  Mary Cuff  •  Ariel Rodriguez  •  Faustino J. Fernandez-Vina  •  Lee A. Solomon  •  

Seal of New Jersey.png

The New Jersey Supreme Court is the court of last resort in the state of New Jersey. The court currently sits in the state capitol of Trenton, New Jersey, in the Richard J. Hughes Justice Complex.[1]


Justices of the New Jersey Supreme Court
The current justices of the court are:
JudgeTermSelected by
Justice Jaynee LaVecchia2000-2024
Justice Barry Albin2002-2022Gov. Jon Corzine
Chief Justice Stuart Rabner2007-PresentGov. Jon Corzine
Justice Anne Patterson (New Jersey)2011-2018Gov. Chris Christie
Presiding Judge; Temporary Justice Mary Cuff1994-2017; 2012-Present
Temporary Justice Ariel Rodriguez2012-Present
Justice Faustino J. Fernandez-Vina2014-2020Gov. Chris Christie
Justice Lee A. Solomon2014-2021

Judicial selection

The court is composed of six justices and one chief justice. Justices of the New Jersey Supreme Court are nominated by the governor of the state. One week after the public notice issued by the governor, the nominees must pass the "advice and consent" of the New Jersey State Senate. After seven years of service on the bench, the governor may 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.[2]


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."[2]

Chief justice

The chief justice of the court is also appointed by the governor, and is considered the administrative head of the state judiciary.[2]

Past chief justices

The following individuals have served as chief justice:

  • 1779-1789: David Brearley[3]
  • 1789-1803: James Kinsey[4]
  • 1804-1825: Andrew Kirkpatrick
  • 1824-1832: Charles Ewing[5]
  • 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-Present: 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, if the court granted "certification," or if the case involves redistricting. The court also has administrative power over the state's courts and attorneys.[2]

Political jurisdiction

If the New Jersey Redistricting Commission does not agree on the manner of redistricting Congressional districts in New Jersey, the New Jersey Supreme Court finalizes the decision.[2]


Fiscal Year Filings Dispositions
2014 * *
2013 * *
2012 1,204 *
2011 1,184 1,854
2010 1,248 *
2009 1,301 1,248
2008 1,284 1,212
2007 1,332 1,338


  • The New Jersey Judiciary has not provided disposition statistics for the years 2010 or 2012 in its annual reports, nor has it provided any caseload data for 2013 or 2014 years.

Political outlook

See also: Political outlook of State Supreme Court Justices

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 23rd 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.[11]


Financial disclosure

See also: Center for Public Integrity Study on State Supreme Court Disclosure Requirements

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.[12]

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 New Jersey General Assembly and tried by the New Jersey State Senate.[2]


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 previous 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.[2]

Notable cases

See also

External links


New JerseyNew Jersey Supreme CourtNew Jersey Superior Court, Appellate DivisionNew Jersey Superior CourtsNew Jersey Municipal CourtsNew Jersey Tax CourtUnited States District Court for the District of New JerseyUnited States bankruptcy court, District of New JerseyUnited States Court of Appeals for the Third CircuitNew Jersey countiesNew Jersey judicial newsNew Jersey judicial electionsJudicial selection in New JerseyNewJerseyTemplate.jpg