New Jersey State Bar Association - The voluntary Bar Association of New Jersey, serving members since 1899.

CONTACT:Barbara S. Straczynski
Director of Communications

Court Denies Certification in $75 Fee Case

NJSBA official comment on the Supreme Court's decision to

deny certification in NJSBA v. State:

We are deeply disappointed by the decision of the New Jersey Supreme

Court denying certification in the New Jersey State Bar Association's

court challenge of the Legislature's authority to impose a $75 annual

assessment on attorneys to subsidize the medical malpractice insurance

premiums of physicians who practice certain specialties.The Legislature

authorized the assessment in 2004 as part of the New Jersey Medical Care

Access and Responsibility and Patients First Care Act. The State Bar has

contended that the Act violates equal protection guarantees, intrudes on

the rule-making authority of the Supreme Court, improperly uses public

money to benefit private parties, and constitutes special legislation.

We believe the complex constitutional questions involving the separation

of powers and equal protection clauses that this case presented were

ripe for consideration and that the Supreme Court was uniquely

positioned to hear and decide the matter. The NJSBA pursued this case on

behalf of all attorneys subject to the assessment because we firmly

believe the factual and legislative record is devoid of any compelling

evidence of a real health care crisis and certainly of any rational

basis for imposing this tax burden on the legal profession.We have said

from the beginning that, if there is a health care crisis, it is a

society-wide problem deserving of society-wide solutions. We will

continue to work with the legislature to address any continuing issues

in this area in a fair and reasonable manner.

The New Jersey State Bar Association, incorporated in 1899, is dedicated to the continuing education of lawyers and the public, to reforming and improving the legal system and to aiding in the administration of justice.