The New Jersey State Bar Association commends the state Senate for providing its advice and consent on a highly qualified group of judicial candidates. Today, the Superior Court has gained 11 exceptional individuals who are prepared to serve the residents of New Jersey fairly and impartially as judges. Their appointments represent an important step in filling the troubling number of vacancies in the Judiciary and restoring it to an equal co-branch of government.
With today’s appointments, the Superior Court still has 56 empty judge seats, equivalent to roughly 12% of the entire bench. Come January that number will again increase when more retirements occur.
Civil and matrimonial trials remain suspended in Passaic County due to a lack of judges, an unfortunate circumstance that directly impacts families in custody, parenting time and child support disputes and leaves civil litigants in limbo as their cases stall. As Chief Justice Stuart Rabner has said, a Judiciary this bereft of judges cannot adequately support the state’s legal infrastructure and provide the level of service that New Jersey residents deserve from their courts. Indeed, a single vacancy that goes unfilled for years can create delays not just in hundreds of cases, but well more than a thousand. This is the reality that New Jersey’s legal system has lived under for far too long.
The NJSBA continues to urge that state leaders – the governor and the state Senate – fulfill their Constitutional duties and act swiftly to approve more qualified candidates to the Judiciary. The Senate has several days in this lame duck session to push through another 20 to 30 judges that have been fully vetted in a historic move to get the judiciary at a vacancy level that is manageable for the people of New Jersey.