SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION No. 154

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

214th LEGISLATURE

INTRODUCED APRIL 11, 2011

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator† JEFF VAN DREW

District 1 (Cape May, Atlantic and Cumberland)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

†††† Proposes constitutional amendment removing gubernatorial appointment of certain municipal court judges.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

†††† As introduced.

††


A Concurrent Resolution proposing to amend Article VI, Section VI, paragraph 1 of the Constitution of the State of New Jersey.

 

†††† Be It Resolved by the Senate of the State of New Jersey (the General Assembly concurring):

 

†††† 1.††† The following proposed amendment to the Constitution of the State of New Jersey is hereby agreed to:

 

PROPOSED AMENDMENT

 

†††† Amend Article VI, Section VI, paragraph 1 to read as follows:

†††† 1.††† The Governor shall nominate and appoint, with the advice and consent of the Senate, the Chief Justice and associate justices of the Supreme Court[,] and the Judges of the Superior Court[, and the judges of the inferior courts with jurisdiction extending to more than one municipality]; except that upon the abolition of the juvenile and domestic relations courts or family court and county district courts as provided by law, the judges of those former courts shall become the Judges of the Superior Court without nomination by the Governor or confirmation by the Senate.† No nomination to such an office shall be sent to the Senate for confirmation until after 7 daysí public notice by the Governor.

†††† Judges of the inferior courts with jurisdiction extending to more than one municipality shall be appointed as may be provided by law.

(cf: Art. VI, Sec. VI, para.1 amended effective Dec. 8, 1983)

 

†††† 2.††† When this proposed amendment to the Constitution is finally agreed to pursuant to Article IX, paragraph 1 of the Constitution, it shall be submitted to the people at the next general election occurring more than three months after the final agreement and shall be published at least once in at least one newspaper of each county designated by the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the General Assembly and the Attorney General, not less than three months prior to the general election.

 

†††† 3.††† This proposed amendment to the Constitution shall be submitted to the people at that election in the following manner and form:

†††† There shall be printed on each official ballot to be used at the general election, the following:

†††† a.†††† In every municipality in which voting machines are not used, a legend which shall immediately precede the question as follows:

†††† If you favor the proposition printed below make a cross (X), plus (+), or check (a) in the square opposite the word "Yes." If you are opposed thereto make a cross (X), plus (+) or check (a) in the square opposite the word "No."

†††† b. In every municipality the following question:

 

 

 

PROVIDES THAT METHOD OF SELECTION AND APPOINTMENT OF CERTAIN MUNICIPAL COURT JUDGES BE SET BY STATUTE RATHER THAN BY THE CONSTITUTION.

 

YES

Shall the amendment to Article VI, Section VI, paragraph 1 of the New Jersey Constitution, agreed to by the Legislature, providing that judges of municipal courts with jurisdiction extending to more than one municipality be appointed as provided by law rather than as provided in the Constitution and giving the Legislature the option of eliminating the Governor and the Senate from involvement in the appointments to municipal courts, be approved?


 

 

 

INTERPRETIVE STATEMENT

 

NO

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

†† This constitutional amendment concerns the method of appointing judges of municipal courts that have jurisdiction in more than one municipality.

†† The statutes allow for three types of municipal courts: municipal courts of single municipalities, joint municipal courts, 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.

†† Judges of municipal courts of single municipalities are appointed at the municipal level.† Currently, the constitution requires that judges of joint municipal courts and central municipal courts be nominated and appointed at the State level, by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate. This amendment would give the Legislature the option to enact a statute that takes the Governor and the Senate out of these appointments and allows these judges to be appointed by another method. For example, judges of a joint municipal court could be appointed solely by the municipalities that created it, and judges of a central municipal court could be appointed solely by the county that created it.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

††††† This concurrent resolution proposes an amendment to Article VI, Section VI, paragraph 1 of the New Jersey Constitution which would eliminate the Governor and the Senate from involvement in the appointment of certain municipal court judges. The constitutional amendment would provide that judges of municipal courts with jurisdiction extending to more than one municipality would be appointed as provided in law rather than as provided in the Constitution which requires nomination by the Governor and appointment with the advice and consent of the Senate.

†††† The statutes currently provide for three types of municipal courts: municipal courts of single municipalities, joint municipal courts, and central municipal courts. A municipal court of a single municipality is created by a single municipality and has jurisdiction over cases from that municipality. A judge of a municipal court of a single municipality is appointed at the municipal level. 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 Constitution requires judges of joint municipal courts and central municipal courts to be nominated and appointed at the State level by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate.

†††† This constitutional amendment would give the Legislature the option to enact a statute that takes the Governor and the Senate out of these appointments and allows these judges to be appointed by another method. For example, judges of a joint municipal court could be appointed solely by the municipalities that created it, and judges of a central municipal court could be appointed solely by the county that created it. This constitutional amendment would not preclude the possibility that a statute would continue to provide for nomination by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate but it does permit a statute to set forth another method of selection and appointment that may not involve the Governor and the Senate.†

†††† This constitutional amendment previously passed both Houses and was placed on the ballot at the November 2008 general election. However, the interpretive statement to the amendment was worded differently.† That constitutional amendment was not approved by the voters.