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NJ Judge Sues State, Says Constitution Bans Jurists’ Pensions From Being Cut

Posted Jul 22, 2011 5:55 AM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Following recent cuts in health-care and pension benefits, a New Jersey judge has sued the state.

Hudson County Superior Court Judge Paul DePascale contends that a required increase in jurists' pension contributions is banned by the state constitution, which prevents jurists' salaries from being reduced in order to protect the independence of the bench, reports the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.).

A spokesman for Gov. Chris Christie says DePascale, who filed the suit in state court yesterday, "should probably just say, 'Thank you' and look forward to a comfortable retirement."

The state's judges, who have been contributing 3 percent of their pay to the pension plan, will eventually be required to contribute 12 percent under the new law, which phases in the increase over a seven-year period.

Their salaries range from $165,000 annually, for trial judges, to $192,795 for the state's chief justice, reports New Jersey Newsroom.

Additional coverage:

Star-Ledger: "N.J. judge files lawsuit against new pension and health benefit increases for public workers"

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