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NJ Voters to Decide Fate of Judges' Pension Payments

By Sandy Fitzgerald   |   Wednesday, 01 Aug 2012 10:10 AM

New Jersey voters this fall will decide whether judges should pay more out of their own pockets toward pensions and benefits, after lawmakers agreed to place a constitutional amendment on the ballot.
Republican Gov. Chris Christie praised the legislature’s quick and nearly unanimous bipartisan action on the initiative, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Democrats who control the legislature arranged the session after the state Supreme Court last week ruled a 2011 law increasing public employee contributions to pensions and healthcare premiums did not apply to sitting judges.

The court claimed that judges’ pay is protected from legislative action to preserve the judicial branch’s independence so judges can make decisions without fear of retribution.
Democratic Senate President Stephen Sweeney, who sponsored the pension reform bill despite employee union resistance, said judges shouldn’t receive special treatment. Republicans agreed.
“This is simple common-sense reform,” said GOP Senate Minority Leader Thomas H. Kean Jr.

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