Acting Director of Communications
Letter to Asbury Park Press Editor on Dec. 29 Editorial “No Justice in Pay Hike”
December 30, 2005
Asbury Park Press
3601 Highway 66
Neptune, NJ 07754
Re: December 29 editorial “No Justice in Pay Hike”
On behalf of the New Jersey State Bar Association, I would like to offer comments concerning your recent editorial opposing a pay raise for judges.
The New Jersey State Bar Association has historically supported pay increases for judges in order to attract the most qualified attorneys to the bench. Notably absent from your editorial is any mention of the fact that the cost of living in New Jersey is high, thus making it necessary that judges receive pay somewhat commensurate to what they could earn in the private sector. The fact that judges have gone almost six years without a raise is a significant problem which demands a solution. The cost of living certainly hasn’t remained constant during this same period.
Moreover, it is disingenuous to note that Governor-elect Corzine, a multimillionaire, will forgo his salary next year, and that Chief Justice Poritz will therefore receive more than $192,000 in salary than the Governor if the pay raise is approved. On this reasoning, every state employee will be paid more than the Governor, whether or not they receive any salary increase.
We recognize the difficult economic realities confronting the state in the form of an approximately $5 billion deficit. However, the proposed judicial pay raise is to be phased in over several years. This should help to defray the costs.
New Jersey has been fortunate in having a judiciary which is lauded across the country for its character, integrity, decision-making and professionalism. A judicial pay raise will ensure that these traits continue to be used as adjectives to describe our judges. We look forward to the introduction of a bill to accomplish these goals, and the attendant consideration by the Legislative and Executive Branches of government. After all, the New Jersey judiciary does not exist for judges. It exists for the people of New Jersey.
Very truly yours,
Stuart A. Hoberman, Esq.