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New Jersey Judicial Salary and Benefits Amendment, Public Question 2 (2012)

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Public Question 2
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Type:Constitutional amendment
Constitution:New Jersey Constitution
Referred by:New Jersey State Legislature
Topic:Pension
Status:Approveda
The New Jersey Judicial Salary and Benefits Amendment, also known as Public Question 2, was on the November 6, 2012 ballot in the state of New Jersey as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment, where it was approved. The measure amended the New Jersey Constitution to mandate that more contributions from judges' and justices' salaries be given for judicial pensions and health care in the state.

Election results

See also: 2012 ballot measure election results

The following are official election results:

New Jersey Public Question 2 (2012)
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 1,982,406 83.1%
No401,60616.9%

Results via: The North Jersey Secretary of State.

Text of the measure

Ballot language

The following is ballot language that appeared before voters:[1]

This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.

Do you 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

Background

A version of the measure was first proposed following an October 17, 2011 court ruling by Superior Court Judge Linda Feinberg. The ruling declared that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's pensions and benefit reforms were "unconstitutional" for members of the judiciary. Feinberg ruled that requiring judges to pay more out of their paychecks amounted to a "diminution of salary." According to the state constitution, judicial salaries cannot be changed during their tenure.[2]

The reforms developed in June 2011 as Christie and state lawmakers worked to tackle the state's $112 billion unfunded liability for pension and health coverage. The reform increased the amount public workers pay.[2]

The lawsuit was filed by Hudson County Superior Court Judge Paul DePascale who argued that the new requirements for increased contributions to pensions violated the state's constitutional provision that judges' compensation cannot be changed during a judge's tenure.[2]

A New Jersey Supreme Court ruling later confirmed the previous ruling in July 2012. As a result, state legislators passed a pension reform proposal to the ballot to let the voters decide on the matter.[3]

Support

  • State Senator Shirley Turner stated why this measure was placed on the ballot after the long legal battles, "We’re looking to save the pensions of our judges as well as those retired judges. Let the people decide that we are not diminishing judge’s salaries when we mandate that they be treated like every other employee in this state."[3]

Opposition

No formal campaign in opposition of the measure was identified by Ballotpedia.

Polls

Polls, 2012 ballot measures
  • In a poll released on October 5, 2012, a Rutgers-Eagleton Poll showed that those surveyed favor the measure with 62% approval. The poll was conducted on September 27-30, and had a margin of error of 3.9 percentage points.[4]


Date of Poll Pollster In favor Opposed Undecided Number polled
Sept. 27-30, 2012 Rutgers-Eagleton Poll 70% 18% 12% 790


Path to the ballot

See also: Amending the New Jersey Constitution

In New Jersey, the state legislature must approve a proposed amendment by a supermajority vote of 60% but the same amendment can also qualify for the ballot if successive sessions of the New Jersey State Legislature approve it by a simple majority. Four states (Connecticut, Hawaii, New Jersey and Pennsylvania) have an either/or system: a proposed amendment must be passed by simple majority in two separate legislative sessions, or by a supermajority vote of one session.

See also

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