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The New Jersey State Senate chamber in Trenton, NJ

Exit window closing for legislators who want a judgeship

By David Wildstein, April 12 2018 9:55 am

Former State Sen. Bob Gordon (D-Fair Lawn)  is expected to easily win confirmation to a seat on the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, and he could be the last legislator to get a cabinet post or judgeship in Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration until at least January of 2020.

The Senate is considered to consider a bi-partisan bill today that would raise the salaries of cabinet members, judges, prosecutors and certain other state posts.   Since the New Jersey Constitution prohibits any legislator from taking a job that had a pay hike during the current legislative term from taking the job, passage of the bill — with Murphy’s signature — will specifically prohibit any current member of the Legislature from getting one of those jobs.

That’s the main reason Gordon left the Senate before his confirmation.   He needed to avoid being around when the bill was passed.

In the 1970’s, Gov. Brendan Byrne appointed State Sen. Stephen Wiley (D-Morris Township) to the New Jersey Supreme Court.  Byrne eventually pulled the nomination because Wiley had voted for the pay raise.  Wiley then lost his seat to Republican John Dorsey (R-Boonton).

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