Legislation pending in the New Jersey Assembly would alter how judges are appointed to joint and central municipal courts. A joint municipal court is created by two or more municipalities and has jurisdiction over cases from these municipalities. A central municipal court is created by a county and has jurisdiction over cases from all municipalities in that county.
The New Jersey Constitution currently requires judges to both courts be nominated by the Governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate. The proposed legislation, ACR-88 and A-1566, would remove the Governor and the Senate from the process by amending the constitution.
The amendment would give the Legislature the option to enact a statute that allows these judges to be appointed by another method. For instance, the amendment states that judges of a joint municipal court could be appointed solely by the municipalities that created it. Similarly, the governing body of the county could appoint judges to a central municipal court.
Although the bills passed the state Assembly by a vote of 77-0, they must still go to the Senate. In addition, the bills could face an uphill battle with voters, who rejected a similar measure in 2008.
For more information about the proposed legislation, we encourage you to contact a member of Scarinci Hollenbeck’s Public Law Group.