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State of New Jersey

History of Reform Efforts: New Jersey

Formal Changes Since Inception

Under New Jersey's original constitution, all judges appointed by the "council and assembly" (both houses of the legislature); tenure of supreme court judges was seven years and tenure of all other judges was five years.

The governor, with senate approval, began to appoint the chancellor, the judges of the supreme court, and six judges. Chancellor and supreme court judges appointed to seven-year terms; six judges appointed to six-year terms. Court of common pleas judges appointed by the senate and the general assembly; inferior court of common pleas judges chosen by governor with consent of the senate.

Seven vice chancellors appointed by the chancellor without confirmation for seven-year terms.

Under New Jersey Constitution of 1947, all judges of the supreme court and superior court given seven- year terms.

Senate President Donald DiFranceso implemented a major revision in senate procedures on judicial reappointments. Henceforth, all gubernatorial nominees for judicial reappointment would be automatically referred to the senate judiciary committee for review. The new procedure effectively bypassed senatorial courtesy for reappointment. While not a formal policy, the procedure appears to be continuing indefinitely.