Sylvia Pressler, who became one of the state’s most influential jurists during her thirty years on the New Jersey Superior Court, is dead at the age of 75. Prior to her retirement in 2004, Pressler was the chief judge of the state’s appellate court.
One of the state’s first women Superior Court judges is remembered in political circles when State Sen. Gerald Cardinale (R-Demarest) used senatorial courtesy to block her renomination to a tenured seat on the bench in 1983. Cardinale’s block led to one of the rarest of instances of a sitting senator after it was discovered that Cardinale himself was an unsuccessful litigant before Pressler. Gov. Thomas Kean, a Republican who has reappointed Pressler, criticized courtesy and Cardinale nearly lost his seat in a rematch with ex-Democratic State Sen. Frank Herbert (D-Westwood).