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

For Immediate Release:  06/17/10

Contact:  Kate Coscarelli

Director of Media Relations

732-937-7548

Symposium Tuesday Puts Threat to Judicial Indepenence in the Spotlight

NEW BRUNSWICK -- A host of retired New Jersey Supreme Court justices and bar associations next week will hold a free symposium to examine the ongoing threat to judicial independence.

On June 22, “New Jersey at a Crossroads – A Crisis in Judicial Independence,” will be held at the New Jersey Law Center in New Brunswick.

The event begins at 4 p.m. and is open to the public. Admission is free. Reporters and photographers are also welcome.

“New Jersey's Judiciary is nationally and historically recognized for its independence and brilliance. Those esteemed attributes are now under attack, and the very core of New Jersey culture may be forever negatively impacted,” said Pamela Miller, an organizer and past president of the Garden State Bar Association.

The state’s legal community has been on high alert on the issue of judicial independence since when Gov. Chris Christie declined to renominate Justice John E. Wallace Jr. The refusal to reappoint a sitting justice marked the first time a sitting justice was not reappointed since the adoption of the 1947 New Jersey Constitution.

“As a result of the Governor's departure from over 60 years of precedent. In refusing to reappoint Justice Wallace to the Supreme Court, the Governor has set in motion a crisis of mammoth proportions.” said Miller. “The legal community is shining a bright light on the great danger before us and is taking the lead in calling widespread attention to the resulting negative impact on New Jersey citizens.”

Raymond A. Brown of NJN’s Due Process will moderate an all-star panel of judges, lawyers and academics.

The panel will feature retired New Jersey Chief Justice Deborah Poritz, retired Supreme Court Justice Gary Stein, attorneys Cynthia Jacob and Karol Corbin Walker, who are both past presidents of the New Jersey State Bar Association, and law professors Robert Williams, of Rutgers Law in Camden, Mark Alexander, of Seton Hall Law, and Frank Askin, of Rutgers Law in Newark.

The New Jersey State Bar Association, Garden State Bar Association, Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey, Association of Black Women Lawyers, Asian Pacific American Lawyers Association of New Jersey and the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey are sponsoring the event.

 - NJSBA -