TRENTON – Judge Paul DePascale, who is mounting a legal challenge to the state’s new pension and benefits reforms, asked the state Supreme Court to take his case out of the Appellate Division and fast-track it to the higher court.
This is the second time attorneys have tried to elevate the case directly to the state Supreme Court; the first request was dismissed and the case was decided by Mercer County Assignment Judge Linda Feinberg.
Feinberg sided with the plaintiff that contribution hikes for benefits equals a de facto reduction in salary. She rebuffed the state’s contention that benefits and contributions to benefits do not equate to salary – any adjustment of which the state Constitution prohibits for sitting judges. The state has since appealed the ruling, which is due to be heard by the Superior Court’s Appellate Division. Feinberg was also verbally demeaned by Gov. Chris Christie for her decision.
“In light of the public importance of the issues and in the interest of resolving such issues as soon as possible,” DePascale’s attorney Justin Walder asked the courts to move the case past the appeal level to be “promptly and finally resolved.”
“It is respectfully submitted that there is no bona fide need or reason for this Court to await a further review,” he wrote, since there are no material facts in dispute, only a constitutional argument to be made.
A representative for the state Attorney General’s Office was not immediately available for a response late this afternoon.