Court Rules against Higher Retirement Contributions for N.J. Judges

November 18, 2011 ( - A New Jersey State appeals court said it would let stand a lower court ruling that found higher retirement contributions from judges would be a reduction in judicial pay, which violates the state constitution.

The judge said it was a matter of judicial independence, according to The Republic. The ruling by appeals court judge Philip Carchman said attorneys for Governor Chris Christie were wrong in claiming that no harm would come by allowing the higher contributions to be made while the case is heard.  

“The public’s interest in maintaining a strong and independent judiciary is imperiled by any violation of (the constitution) no matter how extensive and regardless of its duration,” Carchman wrote.  

The news report said the state Supreme Court has agreed to fast-track the case and will hear arguments early next year.  

The case stems from a new law that requires all public employees to contribute a greater share toward their health care and pension costs. Shortly after it passed, Superior Court Judge Paul DePascale of Hudson County sued the state, saying the law violates another state law that sets judges’ salaries and says they cannot be reduced (see NJ Judge Files Lawsuit over Public Sector Benefit Changes).