Chief Justice Stuart Rabner will complete his first seven-year term in June. We hope that Gov. Chris Christie will renominate him and that the Senate will confirm him without delay. We fully endorse the recent resolution of the New Jersey State Bar Association in support of the chief justice and believe he has earned reappointment and tenure.
Rabner has performed all of the duties of his office with distinction. His opinions are models of scholarship and reason and have been cited by courts across the country. Indeed, in State v. Henderson, 208 N.J. 208 (2011), the chief justice scoured the scholarly literature to write an opinion that shed light on the dark issues inherent in eyewitness identifications, providing a template for assuring the probity of that powerful evidence. Recently, in State v. Earls,214 N.J. 564 (2013), he authored an opinion that held that the New Jersey Constitution required a warrant before law enforcement officers could obtain information through use of a suspect's cellphone records. Both of these decisions have had national impact.
As we have noted on many prior occasions, the clear intention of the 1947 Constitutional Convention was that judges should be reappointed in the absence of incompetence or dereliction of duty. But even if a higher, good-cause standard were appropriate, Rabner would unquestionably meet it. In performing his duties over the past seven years, Rabner has been a model chief justice, and a good and faithful servant to the public interest. He has fully accounted for his stewardship and has earned reappointment.