Sunday, August 18, 2013

War between Gov. Christie, Senate threatens justice itself, experts say |

Jekyll and Hyde Title.jpgThe New Jersey Supreme Court and the states judiciary have been thrown into turmoil by Gov. Christie, whose Mr. Hyde side has dominated his dealings with the judiciary.  He promised to turn Trenton upside down.  In the case of the courts he is well on his way.  Three Supreme Court posts are vacant, and ten percent of judges posts are open.  Democrats have created a near stalemate but in the current game of chicken the Governor holds the stronger hand. - GWC

War between Gov. Christie, Senate threatens justice itself, experts say |
In an interview with The Star-Ledger, retired Chief Justice Deborah Poritz said New Jersey should consider changing its constitution to scrap the initial seven-year terms for judges and adopt the federal model of granting them lifetime tenure from the start.
"It matters little whether Justice Hoens is a so-called conservative justice, or whether Justice Wallace is a centrist," said Poritz, who was named chief justice by Republican Gov. Christie Whitman in 1996. "What matters is they have both served well in the Supreme Court, worked hard and written scholarly opinions. When they’re not reappointed, the message is, ‘No matter how well you do your work, at seven years this is all up for grabs.’ "
The framers of the 1947 state constitution, Poritz said, trusted that governors and lawmakers would grant tenure to judges regardless of their rulings or the political battles of the day. Only ethical troubles or problems keeping up with the job’s demands were considered grounds for dropping them, she said.
Ralph Lamparello, president of the state Bar Association, said the bar will explore how lifetime appointments for judges would work. "We need fearless jurists, and certainly the judiciary has communicated to me through representatives that they feel under attack," he said.  '
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