Yesterday’s Supreme Court decision in Abbott XXI raises an interesting question about the judicial system here in the state of New Jersey. Unlike many states in the Union, New Jersey has a system in which Judges and Justices are appointed by the Governor directly. The idea behind this is that is supposedly makes the judiciary free from the ups and downs of politics. As Save Jerseyans we know that this is not the case. No one in the state government is above politics, and yesterday’s 3-2 ruling shows how true that is.
Again and again, through at least 21 school funding cases alone, the court has continually shown that they are far more interested in legislating that interpreting. They have no problem disregarding issues of standing and stepping into the realm of political questions that should be left to the sole discretion of the legislature.
If they are so eager to be politicians rather than judges I think its time we let them. Let’s amend the constitution an require our state’s highest judges to stand for election.
The fact of the matter is that the people of New Jersey elected Governor Christie to shake up Trenton, and the do-nothing Democrats led by Steve Sweeney in the legislature are stopping the will of the people at every turn. If the people of New Jersey had their way, Ann Patterson would be on the Supreme Court right now, and the Abbott decision yesterday would have gone 3-2 in the other direction. Instead, we got stuck with a 3-2 decision where the tie breaking vote is a Justice that was appointed not by any Governor, but by the Chief Justice of the court.
These types of decisions that extend the arms of the court into the realm of the legislature must be accounted for, and the only way to do that is to hold the Justices accountable themselves. The idea is not that far-fetched, 39 states currently elect their judges in some fashion, and maybe its time to make that 40.