NJ Judge Challenges Benefit Reductions

TRENTON – A New Jersey Superior Court judge has filed a lawsuit against the state challenging the constitutionality of a recently-enacted law that requires judges to pay more towards their pension and health benefits.

Paul M. DePascale, a Superior Court judge since 1991, filed a declaratory judgment lawsuit in Mercer County contending that the law illegally reduces the salaries of the state’s judges.

The New Jersey Constitution states that judge’s salaries “. . . shall not be diminished during the term of their appointment,” and the complaint states that the effect of the new law will be to unconstitutionally diminish salaries of the judiciary. The prohibition was designed to ensure judicial independence – to protect the judges and justices from intimidation or undue influence.

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