Crafty Senator Sam Thompson
While the legislature is moving forward to put a Constitutional Amendment on the ballot that will overturn the State Supreme Court’s decision that Judges don’t have to pay their fair share of their pensions and health benefits under the reform legislation enacted last year, the ever crafty senator from Old Bridge, Sam Thompson, wants to stick the Judges ruling in Depascale vs The State of New Jersey high up under their robes.
In a letter to the Treasury Department sent this morning, Thompson noted that given that the Court ruled that Judges’ “salary” includes their pensions and health care, the men and women in black have been under contributing to those funds since 1982.
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Posted: July 27th, 2012 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: NJ Courts, NJ Judiciary, NJ State Legislature, NJ Supreme Court, Pensions, Sam Thompson | Tags: Constitution, DePascale Vs State of New Jersey, NJ Supreme Court, Pensions and Health Care, Senator Sam Thompson | 6 Comments »
A National Review Online Editorial
In today’s deeply disappointing decision on Obamacare, a majority of the Supreme Court actually got the Constitution mostly right. The Commerce Clause — the part of the Constitution that grants Congress the authority to regulate commerce among the states — does not authorize the federal government to force Americans to buy health insurance. The Court, in a 5–4 decision, refused to join all the august legal experts who insisted that of course it granted that authorization, that only yahoos and Republican partisans could possibly doubt it. It then pretended that this requirement is constitutional anyway, because it is merely an application of the taxing authority. Rarely has the maxim that the power to tax is the power to destroy been so apt, a portion of liberty being the direct object in this case.
What the Court has done is not so much to declare the mandate constitutional as to declare that it is not a mandate at all, any more than the mortgage-interest deduction in the tax code is a mandate to buy a house. Congress would almost surely have been within its constitutional powers to tax the uninsured more than the insured. Very few people doubt that it could, for example, create a tax credit for the purchase of insurance, which would have precisely that effect. But Obamacare, as written, does more than that. The law repeatedly speaks in terms of a “requirement” to buy insurance, it says that individuals “shall” buy it, and it levies a “penalty” on those who refuse. As the conservative dissent points out, these are the hallmarks of a “regulatory penalty, not a tax.”
The law as written also cuts off all federal Medicaid funds for states that decline to expand the program in the ways the lawmakers sought. A majority of the Court, including two of the liberals, found this cut-off unconstitutionally coercive on the states. The Court’s solution was not to invalidate the law or the Medicaid expansion, but to rule that only the extra federal funds devoted to the expansion could be cut off. As the dissenters rightly point out, this solution rewrites the law — and arbitrarily, since Congress could have avoided the constitutional problem in many other ways.
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Posted: June 28th, 2012 | Author: admin | Filed under: 2012 Congressional Races, ObamaCare, SCOTUS, U.S. Constitution, U.S. Supreme Court | Tags: Chief Justice Roberts, Constitution, National Review Online, ObamaCare, violence | Comments Off on Chief Justice Roberts’ Foley
By Senator Kevin O’Toole
The appointment of Justices to the Supreme Court of New Jersey is one of the most important duties afforded to the Governor under our Constitution. The men and women called to serve as members of our State’s highest judicial body must grapple with the most significant disputes arising from laws in a variety of areas, ranging from criminal justice to corporate governance. Rightfully, the qualifications of any attorney nominated to sit on the Supreme Court should be carefully scrutinized. In the case of Governor Christie’s two recent nominees, Bruce Harris and Phillip Kwon, that study reveals the backgrounds of extremely well qualified candidates whose experience is entirely consistent with the past and present Justices of the Supreme Court, all of whom enjoyed swift and strong Senatorial support.
Phillip Kwon has admirably dedicated nearly his entire career to various positions in public service within New Jersey. A graduate of Georgetown University and Rutgers Law School, Mr. Kwon has worked over the last decade for the State’s Attorney General and the United States Attorney’s Office as the lead trial prosecutor in matters such as narcotics trafficking, gang violence, and public corruption. He has served with distinction as a manager of dozens of federal prosecutors and thousands of state attorneys, earning the accolades of colleagues and adversaries. As both a private attorney and a judicial law clerk, he has experience in the same variety of civil matters that will occupy the Supreme Court’s docket in the years to come.
Mr. Harris has achieved the rare distinction of combining a successful career as an attorney at two of the State’s most prestigious private firms, with nearly eight years of elected public service. A magna cum lade graduate of Amherst College, Mr. Harris also holds an M.B.A, with honors, from Boston University and a law degree from Yale. In legal practice that spanned nearly two decades, Mr. Harris personally negotiated a wide array of financial transactions, in both the public and private sector, valued in excess of $8 billion. His legal advice and representation ranged from matters involving environmental projects, health care facilities, and public libraries, to assisted living homes, nonprofits, and residences for the disabled. Simultaneously, Mr. Harris volunteered his time with a host of local charities, including the Chatham Environmental Commission, the Chatham Historic Preservation Commission, and as a Trustee of the Foundation of the UMDNJ and New Jersey Health Foundation. He also combined his legal practice with nearly eight years of elected service, first as a member of the Chatham Borough Council and now as Chatham’s Mayor.
Notably, the backgrounds of both of these candidates are highly similar to the experiences and qualifications of our current and past Justices, all of whom received quick approval by the Legislature. Like Justice LaVecchia, who was confirmed within four days, Mr. Kwon is a graduate of Rutgers Law School. Mr. Harris not only has a legal degree, but also holds a Masters in Business Administration, which he obtained in 1979. Similar to Justice Rabner, who was confirmed within 17 days, Mr. Kwon clerked in the U.S. District Court, and held leadership positions in the Office of the United States Attorney. Both Justices Rabner and Patterson garnered experience at the Office of the Attorney General, as has Mr. Kwon, who has been with the Office since 2010. Three of the five current justices have extensive legal experience in private practice, as do both Mr. Harris and Mr. Kwon. Like all members of the court, Mr. Harris and Mr. Kwon have worked in prominent New Jersey law firms. Nor will Mr. Harris become the first elected Mayor and Councilman to sit on the Court, as Justice Daniel O’Hern served as both Mayor and Councilman of Red Bank before his service as a Justice.Water Sports Product
Moreover, the confirmation of both Mr. Harris and Mr. Kwon will restore much-needed political balance to the high court. By unwritten rule, Governors have maintained a political party affiliation split on the New Jersey Supreme Court, with no more than four Justices of the Governor’s party serving at the same time. Since 1947, however, the implementation of that “tradition” has produced a Republican majority a mere five times compared with nineteen Democratic majorities. Governor Christie’s appointments will honor the real intent of the compromise by creating a true party balance comprised of three registered Republicans (Hoens, Patterson, Harris), two registered Democrats (Rabner, Albin), and two unaffiliated Justices (LaVecchia, Kwon).
The Constitution does not permit indefinite, or even lengthy, vacancies on the Supreme Court. While the power of appointment and re-appointment rests solely with the Governor, the Senate holds the privilege of providing advice and consent of all persons asked to serve the people as members of the Court. The Governor’s selection of these two exceptionally qualified candidates, whose backgrounds are substantially similar to the attorneys who have served our State with distinction, will allow the Senate to move swiftly to publicly consider the temperament of these nominees in fulfillment of our Constitutional duty.
Posted: February 2nd, 2012 | Author: admin | Filed under: NJ Supreme Court | Tags: Albin, Bruce Harris, Chris Christie, Constitution, Daniel O'Hern, Hoens, Justices, Kevin O'Toole, LaVecchia, NJ Supreme Court, Patterson, Phillip Kwon, Rabner, Senate, Supreme Court of New Jersey | Comments Off on Senator O’Toole Makes Case For Christie’s Supreme Court Nominees