Message from NJSBA President Thomas H. Prol on Judicial Pay Raises

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December 15, 2016
Contact: Kate Coscarelli
Senior Managing Director Communications
The New Jersey Legislature is expected to consider S2851/A4430 (Scutari/Schaer) in committee hearings today and in a voting session on Monday. The measure provides, among other things, a pay increase for judges and brings New Jersey in line with several other states by providing automatic COLA increases. While the NJSBA did not take a position on other provisions in the legislation, the NJSBA issued the below statement to the Legislature urging passage of the pay raise as it relates to judges.
New Jersey State Bar Association Urges Pay Raise for Judges
It is time for New Jersey judges to receive a pay raise. It has been close to nine years since the people our society entrusts to resolve disputes have seen a salary increase, all the while the cost of living has risen and judges have seen their compensation diminished through the passage of the New Jersey Judicial Salary and Benefits Amendment.
Judicial excellence depends upon the ability to attract high quality legal scholars to the bench who have a rich diversity of professional and life experiences and a deep knowledge of the law. As residents of New Jersey, we should all be proud that New Jersey’s Judiciary is nationally recognized for the talent of our judges, and widely modeled for the deliberative and visionary case law it hands down. We should strive to keep it that way through judicial salaries that match the skills the positions demand.
Since New Jersey judges are not permitted to earn any outside income while serving on the bench, it is absolutely critical that New Jersey judges are properly compensated. This is not just about the over 400 men and women who serve on our bench, but about each and every resident of this state. This is about preserving the integrity of our court system for the benefit of our residents. An independent and impartial judiciary is promised to us under our constitution and is the cornerstone of democracy. Ensuring judges are adequately compensated will go a long way toward making sure we keep that promise and keep the foundation of our system of government intact.
The New Jersey State Bar Association applauds the provisions in
S2851/A4430 (Scutari/Schaer) relating to judicial pay increases, which brings New Jersey in line with several other states of providing automatic COLA increases and thereby largely removing the question of judicial compensation from the sway of political influence. We urge you to vote in favor of those provisions and support a judicial pay raise.