Assembly Judiciary Committee debates extending judge retirement ages

Assembly Judiciary Committee debates extending judge retirement ages
Assemblyman John McKeon, chair of the Assembly Judiciary Committee

TRENTON - On their first day back from summer recess in the Statehouse today, members of the Assembly Judiciary Committee mulled the idea of extending the mandatory retirement age for Supreme and Superior Court judges in New Jersey.

The state's constitution currently requires judges to retire at 70. But that stricture was adopted in 1948, when the average life expectancy was far lower than it is now, committee Chairman John McKeon (D-27) argued.

Today, people are living decades longer, which means judge are being forced to retire well before they need to, wasting valuable skills and expertise, he said.

"With a judge I always think of judges of having wisdom, and wisdom comes with experience and age," McKeon said. "And truth be told at age 70, we're taking some of the most fertile and vital jurists and forcing them into retirement at an arbitrary and capricious age set many decades ago."

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Sources: Gonzalez poised for departure from Newark City Council

Sources: Gonzalez poised for departure from Newark City Council

Carlos Gonzalez, the veteran Newark At-Large councilman from the North Ward, is poised to leave the City Council, sources tell PolitickerNJ.

An attorney - and longtime staunch ally of former Mayor (and current U.S. Senator) Cory Booker, Gonzalez stands in line for a municipal court judge's position.

Pat Council of the South Ward - a close ally of Mayor Ras Baraka's - is in position to replace Gonzalez, sources say.

Council chairs the South Ward Democratic Committee.

Much hangs on Gonzalez's final declaration.

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Assembly Labor Committee releases bills to protect NJ Unemployment Benefits Fund

Assembly Labor Committee releases bills to protect NJ Unemployment Benefits Fund

TRENTON -  The Assembly Labor Committee on Thursday released a legislative bill package sponsored by Assembly Democrats Wayne DeAngelo (D-14), Gary Schaer (D-36), Gabriela Mosquera (D-4) and Raj Mukherji (D-31) designed to better protect the state’s Unemployment Insurance Fund from fraud and ensure it’s used only by those it was created to assist - unemployed New Jerseyans.

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CD3 race: Political calculations in Carpenters endorsement, Muller hiring

CD3 race: Political calculations in Carpenters endorsement, Muller hiring

The race in South Jersey's third congressional district is heating up this month with two key developments.

First, two weeks ago, the Republican hopeful and businessman Tom MacArthur found himself happily receiving an endorsement from the United Brotherhood of Carpenters, a 20,000 member labor union with strong ties to South Jersey's Democratic party. It's the second major labor endorsement MacArthur has received in CD3, the first being the Laborers' International Union of North America.

The second development came just yesterday, with the news that Mike Muller, a South Jersey political operative with extensive fieldwork experience in districts like CD3 and CD7 , is stepping in to assist Democratic contender and Burlington County freeholder Aimee Belgard with what some see as a lukewarm campaign. Muller was hired by the Democratic State Committee as a liaison to the Democrat's campaign, and will serve in a communications role.

Both developments have drawn the interest of political observers in the state not just for their potential in changing the dynamics of the race itself -- the labor endorsements for MacArthur and Muller for Belgard -- but for the light they shine on the political calculations going on behind the scenes, among South Jersey Democrats and Republicans wagering how much to throw into the contest and where.

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Morning Digest: September 11th

Morning Digest: September 11th

At birthday fundraiser, Christie, Romney present united Republican front

At birthday fundraiser, Christie, Romney present united Republican front

EAST BRUNSWICK - At a birthday bash fundraiser on Wednesday night, Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, verbally embraced New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, the man who could be the 2016 presidential nominee.

"What a great job your governor is doing for Republican governors across the country," Romney said about Christie, who turned 52 years old on Sept. 6. "I am proud to be on the stage with a man who knows what to do. This is a guy who cares about the people of this great state. It's not always easy, but this is a guy who fights for what he believes in." 

Romney's praise for Christie came in the context of early presidential politicking. In his capacity as Republican Governors Association chairman, Christie has been barnstorming around America in recent months, raising funds for candidates in competitive gubernatorial races as well as raising his national profile. Recent polls have shown Christie among the leaders or at the top of the anticipated 2016 GOP field, including in the critical state of New Hampshire. 

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The PolitickerNJ Interview: Senator Gerald Cardinale

The PolitickerNJ Interview: Senator Gerald Cardinale

FORT LEE – State Sen. Gerald Cardinale (R-39) remembers then-Bergen County Democratic Organization Chairman Joe Ferriero jabbing a finger at him and telling him, “The reason network television costs so much, Gerry, is because it works!”

Cardinale says Democrats threw $2 million into trying to defeat him in 2007 – half of that in the last week.

“I won by better than 5,000 votes, but it still cut my usual margin in half,” said the veteran Republican senator, 80, a dentist by trade, sitting in his office a short way from the George Washington Bridge.

Cardinale tells that story now in relation to the Bergen County Executive’s race, where incumbent Republican Kathe Donovan is trying to fend off Democrat James Tedesco, a freeholder from Paramus.

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Donovan formally kicks off fall portion of campaign by burnishing labor support

Donovan formally kicks off fall portion of campaign by burnishing labor support

CARLSTADT - At the head of a local sheet metal workroom, incumbent GOP Bergen County Executive Kathleen Donovan today kicked off her re-election campaign with the backing of three New Jersey building trades unions and the promise to continue building on the more than $200 million in savings and efficiencies to county residents over the past four years.

“When I was fortunate enough to first be elected County Executive, I inherited a bloated, wasteful and inefficient government that was far more interested in self-service than public service and I am happy to say we have turned all of that around,” Donovan said. “I am proud to say we have kept every single promise to the taxpayers, working families, seniors, children and young adults of Bergen County.”

Members of the Sheet Metal Workers Union Local 25, and the International Union of Bricklayers & Allied Craft Workers Administrative District Council all gave their endorsements and pledged financial and manpower support to the county executive throughout the remainder of the campaign.  Combined the unions represent more than 13,000 members in New Jersey.

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The Back Room

Christie campaigns in New Hampshire

When asked in New Hamsphire today about whether he was considering a presidential run in 2016, Gov. Chris Christie said he wouldn’t discuss his plans until after November.

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Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: September 18th

Guv prospects Fulop and Sweeney add voices to Silva, Stack and striking 1199 SEIU workers UNION CITY – They tried out their blue collar tough guy tonsils today in front of a purple-shirted crowd of striking healthcare workers – two of three as-yet-undeclared Democratic candidates for governor: Jersey City...

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Legislation needed for publicly financed gubernatorial elections

By JEFF BRINDLE It is critical that the Legislature soon enact a pending bill that would ensure the state’s Gubernatorial Public Financing Program is available in the event of a special election for governor.  Not only is there no current legal... Read More >


(9-17-14) Viral Video Prompts Questionable NJ Municipal Ordinance -  Socrates said, “While I might disagree with what you say, I will defend to the death your right to say... more »
The Correct Foreign Policy – Neither Fortress America Nor Pax Americana      Last week marked the 75th anniversary of the beginning of World War 2.  It started with the... more »
(Asbury Park, NJ) -- There's a word for someone who says one thing and does another: hypocrite.  There's no shortage of 'em in Trenton -- from ... more »
 The following letter was sent today to Republican state legislators, county chairs, state committee members, and New Hampshire... more »

Quote of the Day

quote of the day

“Clearly there’s some resemblance with Theodore Roosevelt. That direct confrontational style of leadership.” - historian Doris Hearns Goodwin, referring to Gov. Chris Christie.

- The Times of Trenton


Who would make the best running mate for Chris Christie if he lands the GOP nomination for president?:


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