Director of Judicial Administration
Preliminary Agenda: NJ Governors and the State Supreme Court
New Jersey Governors and the State Supreme Court
Rutgers Program on the Governor, Eagleton Institute of Politics and the
New Jersey State Bar Association
PA CLE: 5.5 substantive credits pending ($24 fee – separate check payable to NJICLE must be submitted at the end of the program)
NY CLE (Non-transitional and Transitional): 6.5 professional practice credits Trial Attorney Certification: 5.75 civil or criminal credits pending
Thursday, May 8, 2008
New Jersey Law Center
One Constitution Square, Ryders Lane, New Brunswick, New Jersey
Registration and continental breakfast
Welcome and Introductions
Lynn Fontaine Newsome, President NJ State Bar Association
Ruth B. Mandel, Director, Eagleton Institute of Politics, Rutgers University
9:15 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.
Hon. Jon S. Corzine
State of New Jersey
9:30 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.
New Jersey Governors and the State Supreme Court: The Evolving Relationship
Robert Williams, Distinguished Professor, Rutgers Law School-Camden
An overview of the role of the governor and the state’s highest court under the Constitutions of 1776, 1844 and 1947. Review of issues that led to the drafting of the current 1947 Constitution and its strengthening of the formal powers of the governor and of the Supreme Court, and how other states compare with New Jersey in the formal powers provided to the executive and the judiciary. An assessment of how the relationship among the state’s chief executive, the court and the legislature has evolved since 1947, particularly in shaping contemporary public policy through landmark cases in such areas as school finance, affordable housing, reapportionment, the death penalty, gay marriage and others. Has the strength of governor’s formal powers declined as a result of the legislature’s exercising a greater role in initiating legislation and review of executive appointments, budgets and regulations compared to the situation prevailing in the early years after the adoption of the 1947 Constitution? What will be the impact of the creation of a lieutenant governor on the governor’s role and balance of power among the branches?
Governors and the Court: The Formal and Informal Relationship
Panel of former governors and justices
Moderator: Former Attorney General John J. Farmer Jr.
Governors Brendan T. Byrne and James J. Florio, Chief Justices James R. Zazzali and Deborah T. Poritz; and Justices Robert Clifford, Stewart Pollock, Daniel J. O’Hern, Gary S. Stein and Peter G. Verniero.
Discussion of the formal and informal relationship of governors with the Court since 1947. How do governors assess the effectiveness of the current division of powers among the three branches of New Jersey government? How have Court decisions influenced gubernatorial or legislative priorities? How has the 1947 Constitution’s mandate for a gubernatorially appointed--rather than elected--judiciary affected the division of power among the three branches? What issues have provoked cooperation, or conflict, between governors and the Court? How do governors go about evaluating and making appointments to the Court? How have those appointments influenced the composition of the Court in diversity, professional and personal experience? Has the tendency of recent appointments to come from key members of the governor’s staff affected the composition of the Court and its perspective on such issues as the extent of executive power in relation to the legislature? Are sources for potential appointments, such as lower court judges, lawyers in private practice and academics, getting adequate consideration for appointment to the Court? How have past appointment controversies affected the Court? How have chief justices sought to communicate with and gain support from governors and the legislature in meeting the court system’s financial needs for resources, staffing and salary levels?
12:15 - 1 p.m.
1 - 2:15 p.m.
Shaping the Relationship since 1947: Governors and the Court
Governor Brendan T. Byrne, Justice Robert Clifford, Judge Burrell Ives Humphreys of Williams Caliri Miller & Otley, Professor John Wefing of Seton Hall Law School, Robert J. Del Tufo of Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, Joel Sterns of Sterns & Weinroth, Judge Arthur J. Simpson of Winne Banta Hetherington Basralian & Kahn (tentative).
Recollections of the professional and personal relationships and interactions of governors, the Court and its chief justices and associate justices since 1947. How did the mix of personalities, administrative styles and priorities shift under the chief justices? How did the various Courts differ in the decision-making process, such as in the certification of cases for review, oral argument, internal conferences and the writing of decisions? Did the special experience of Chief Justice Hughes as a former governor have any impact on the Court’s decision-making or relations with the executive? Has there been direct or indirect pressure by chief justices to seek consensus and avoid dissent? How has the Court role in judicial administration and discipline of the bar evolved since 1947?
2:15 - 2:30 p.m. Break
2:30 - 4 p.m.
Governors and the Court as Policy Makers: Perfect Together?
Governor James J. Florio (tentative); Judge John Gibbons, Gibbons PC; former Senator William L. Gormley, DLA Piper (tentative); William S. Greenberg, McCarter & English; John L. Kraft, Lomurro Davison Eastman & Muñoz, P.A. (also justices to be determined).
Discussion of landmark decisions of the Court in such areas as school finance, affordable housing, reapportionment, the death penalty, issuance of state debt, gay marriage and others. Which branch of government is most likely to initiate policy in contemporary New Jersey? Would or could the Court today be able to issue decisions on such topics as school finance and affordable housing without risking potential action by the legislature to overrule or restrict its authority? How effective has the implementation of decisions in such areas as school finance and construction and affordable housing been in accomplishing the objectives of these decisions? Were there other potential approaches to decisions in such controversial areas that might have been more successful, such as more direct restrictions on the authority of municipal governments over financing and operating of school systems or planning and zoning? Did the Court’s rigorous standards for the review of capital punishment cases undermine legislative intent in restoring the death penalty? Has growing public and media cynicism toward all government institutions and the emergence of talk radio, the Internet and other mass communication forums undermined the ability of all branches of government to develop and implement controversial major policy decisions? Have changing national attitudes toward judicial activism affected public opinion and support of the judiciary.
4 - 4:30 p.m.