Constitutional protection upheld, says attorney for judge’s pension reform lawsuit

LITTLE FALLS – The attorney for the Hudson County judge who challenged the state’s pension reforms said today’s court decision to uphold the challenge was appropriate.

Superior Court Judge Paul DePascale, the plaintiff, argued that the state Constitution protects compensation for judges, but the state argued that definition of compensation only extends to salaries, not pensions.

Mercer County Superior Court decided in favor of DePascale today, dismissing the state’s motion to dismiss the case.

DePascale’s attorney, Justin Walder of Walder, Hayden, and Brogan, told State Street Wire as he was reading the decision, “The court appropriately enforced the Constitutional mandate that the salary of the justices of the (state) Supreme Court and the judges of the Superior Court should not be diminished while in (office).”

Walder said the state’s argument – compensation is limited to salary – has historically not been the case going back to reforms passed in the administration of Gov. William Cahill in the early 1970s. “That issue has been appropriately addressed by the court,” Walder said, noting that a bill submitted in the Assembly this year even stipulated as much.

There was no immediate comment from the governor’s office to the ruling, which was issued late this afternoon.

Earlier story:

Court sides with judge in pension/benefits overhaul challenge

Constitutional protection upheld, says attorney for judge’s pension reform lawsuit