New Jersey Women Lawyers Association Issues Statement on Governor Christie’s Announcement That He Will Not Renominate New Jersey Supreme Court Justice Helen Hoens

Governor Christie’s announcement that he will not reappoint Supreme Court Justice Helen E. Hoens to the New Jersey Supreme Court, despite acknowledging her outstanding service and exceptional qualifications, is a blow to the integrity of our judicial system and a true loss to the citizens of New Jersey.

Justice Hoens has faithfully served the people of this State for almost twenty years, first as a judge of the Superior Court and then as a judge of the Appellate Division, before being appointed to the Supreme Court almost seven years ago. In each of these roles, Justice Hoens has performed her duties with integrity, honor and distinction; and the Governor candidly admits that she deserves renomination and tenure. The integrity of our independent judiciary should not be compromised by politicians who choose to use the renomination process as a political tool.

The New Jersey Women Lawyers Association commends Justice Hoens for her long standing and exemplary service to our profession. She has been a role model for the women of New Jersey, and the equitable gender composition of the New Jersey Supreme Court has been a source of pride and distinction for New Jersey over the last several years. We applaud Governor Christie’s commitment to increasing diversity on our highest court, a goal we passionately support. However, as an organization dedicated to the advancement of women in the profession, we are concerned that all five recent Supreme Court nominees have been men. New Jersey will be best served when our highest court remains balanced in all respects, which includes having women continue to serve at the highest level of our judiciary.

The members of the New Jersey Legislature and the Governor must take whatever steps are necessary to end the political gamesmanship and restore integrity to this process. Justice Hoens, the other Supreme Court nominees, and the people of New Jersey deserve better.

The New Jersey Women Lawyers Association (NJWLA) is an independent association of almost one thousand attorneys, law students and judges throughout New Jersey. Our mission is to retain women in the legal profession through education and activism; promote our members to the highest levels of law firm, government, academic, community and corporate positions; and endorse and support qualified female attorneys for appointments to the state and federal judiciary. More information about the NJWLA can be found at www.njwla.org.

Contact:

Suzanne M. Cerra, NJWLA President scerra@nfclegal.com

Victoria Michals njwlacomm@gmail.com

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