As reported on NJ.Com, The State of New Jersey argued before a State Superior Court Judge today that Governor Chris Christie cannot be forced to make full pension payments because the 2011 law committing him to fully fund the state system in exchange for union concessions was unconstitutional.

Interrupting the assistant attorney general, Superior Court

Today, February 25, 2014, Governor Chris Christie is set to propose a new state budget. In a press release yesterday, State Democrats warned the Governor that he shouldn’t expect support for a proposed tax cut.
State Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester) and Senate Budget Committee Chairman Paul Sarlo (D-Bergen) also repeated that the spending plan

As reported by nj.com, a new report shows the retirement funds for New Jersey State Troopers, local police, and firefighters and public workers lost ground in the first year workers were required to pay more toward their pensions. The State paid one-seventh of its contribution to the system in the fiscal year that

As reported by nj.com, a divided State Supreme Court said judges and justices don’t have to chip in more for their pension and health benefits like other state workers because New Jersey’s Constitution prevents them from having their pay cut. The 3-2 decision drew swift responses from the leaders of New Jersey’s two other branches of government, which last year enacted a law requiring higher contributions from state workers.

Governor Chris Christie called it a case of “liberal activist judges running amok” while Democrats who run the state Legislature said they may ask voters to change the state constitution to force judges to pay more. The state’s bar association, however, called it a win for judicial independence, saying judges “will remain free from political retaliation when judges make an unpopular but just decision.”

The highly anticipated decision, which affects most of the more than 375 Superior Court judges and Supreme Court justices who were on the bench when the law went into effect, strikes at a key component of Christie’s effort to trim spending on employee salaries and benefits and stabilize pension plans.

The Court said making judges contribute more for their benefits constitutes a pay cut, and that the state Constitution forbids the other branches from reducing judges’ salaries to make sure they are not punished for making unpopular decisions. “Whatever good motivation the Legislature may have had when enacting (the law) with its broad application to all state public employees, the framers’ message is clear,” the Court said. “The constitution forbids the reduction of a justice or judge’s take-home salary during the term of his or her appointment.”

Superior Court Judge Paul DePascale brought the challenge, saying his pension and health contributions would increase by more than five times after a seven-year phase in. The State argued health benefits and pensions are part of a total compensation package and should not be considered as salary. But the majority of the justices said the terms “salary” and “compensation” were used interchangeably by the framers of the state Constitution and every time lawmakers imposed pension requirements on judges, it included a corresponding pay raise.


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As reported by app.com, a federal lawsuit brought by New Jersey public employee unions, in an attempt to overturn last year’s pension and benefit reforms, has been dismissed. U.S. District Judge Anne E. Thompson ruled Monday that the issue is not under federal jurisdiction because of the 11th amendment to the U.S. Constitution,