Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, the Republican nominee for governor, sent Observer a statement outlining her views on the state Supreme Court. Guadagno and Democratic nominee Phil Murphy both declined interview requests about this topic and have spoken very little about it, if at all, on the campaign trail. Murphy’s campaign did not respond to written questions.
Here is Guadagno’s statement in full:
“As a former prosecutor and assistant attorney general, I believe in an independent judiciary which interprets the law, not writes legislation from the bench. When choosing who sits on New Jersey’s bench, I will seek input from every group across this state and select judges who will serve honestly, ethically, treat people equally and uphold the rule of law. I will review current justices after their seven year term expires to make sure they meet that criteria as well.
“That said, allowing the judiciary to set the state’s school funding and affordable housing policy has been a disaster for taxpayers.
“While I do not support using exclusionary housing policies to keep out lower-income people, I also believe the current state of our affordable housing laws passed by the Legislature and interpreted by the courts is unworkable. Clearly, the existing paradigm has not worked for those who need affordable housing or for municipalities. It has certainly not worked for New Jersey taxpayers. I believe New Jersey has an incredible opportunity to fix the affordable housing crisis once and for all by embracing a policy that mirrors the state’s current economic realities, not deny them. I think the key to cracking the code on affordable housing is to recognize that if we have a rational policy that puts housing where the jobs and transportation hubs are, it can be a great thing for our state when it comes to housing, economic development and keeping young people here. This is a topic that’s been debated over and over again, yet a solution still seems to elude all sides in Trenton. I believe this is an approach all sides can agree to because it will be the best way to expand opportunities for low-income New Jerseyans.
“My administration will work to reform the school funding formula so millionaires in Hoboken and Jersey City pay their fair share for pre-K, K-12 education and school construction. Lessons from previous attempts to address fairness in education funding teach us that any changes to the school funding formula will undoubtedly be challenged in court. In order to uphold changes to the formula to address inequities and unfairness, it is important to have an updated administrative record of whether districts are able to provide a thorough and efficient education and contribute towards educational expenses. As governor, I will direct the commissioner of education to establish an administrative hearing process to develop a record that will be used to uphold the new school funding formula in court.”