Christie Calls for Constitutional Change on Judges’ Pensions

Tuesday, 18 Oct 2011 05:48 PM

 

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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie called for an amendment to the state constitution that would subject judges to a public pension overhaul enacted this year.

Christie, 49, said he’ll try to get the proposal on the November 2012 ballot. He spoke to reporters a day after Superior Court Judge Linda Feinberg in Mercer County ruled that members of the judiciary are exempt from a law requiring higher pension contributions by public workers.

Christie said he will appeal.

“This is a blatant attempt to exact special treatment for themselves because they have the power,” Christie said today in Trenton. “Judge Feinberg’s decision, in addition to legally indefensible, is morally indefensible. If the courts will not fix this problem, the Legislature has to give the people the opportunity to fix this problem.”

Feinberg, who ruled on a claim brought by Superior Court Judge Paul DePascale in her Trenton court, declined to comment.

“There is no response or comment on anything coming from chambers,” Jeff Starr, a law clerk for Feinberg, said by telephone.

A typical judge in New Jersey will collect pension payments of more than $2 million while paying about $59,000 into the system over a career, Christie said. Members of the judiciary can retire after 10 years with stipends equal to 75 percent of pay, Christie said.

An increase in contributions, required for state workers under the law Christie signed in June, would be a “diminution of salary,” Feinberg said in her ruling. The decision applies to 432 judges, Christie said.


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