N.J. high court hears arguments in case that may affect their pensions

In a case that could impact the justices themselves, New Jersey’s Supreme Court heard legal arguments Monday on a challenge to the law that increases judges’ pension payments.

As part of the pension and benefit reform law enacted last year, judges’ pension contributions are being increased from 3 percent of their salaries to 12 percent.

The higher contributions are an unconstitutional salary reduction for judges, says Justin Walder, who represents Hudson County Superior Court Judge Paul DePascale who filed the suit.

“The New Jersey Constitution does not permit that, absent a corresponding salary increase,” Walder said.

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Assistant Attorney General Robert Lougy maintains pension and health care contributions do not diminish salary.

“The Legislature has not included pensions and health benefits within salary and, therefore, neither should this court,” he said.

There’s no indication just when the court will issue a ruling in the case.

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