Welcome to the New Jersey Supreme Court Virtual Museum. Here you will find detailed biographical information about the chief justices and associate justices who have served on the court since the adoption of the 1947 New Jersey Constitution, notable cases, speeches, correspondence, videos and photographs of the court and court-related people and institutions.
Equally important, and interesting, you will find the life stories of some of the most dynamic people in New Jersey’s history. The website is a work in progress and will be updated often.
New Jersey has had a Court bearing the title “Supreme Court” since before we became a state on Dec. 18, 1787. However, the Supreme Court did not become the state’s highest appellate court until 1948. New Jersey’s first constitution in 1776 included a Court of Appeals, which was then the state’s court of last resort. The state constitution of 1844 established the Court of Errors and Appeals, which derived its name from its function of hearing appeals and correcting errors of lower courts. That Court was abolished when the 1947 state constitution established today’s New Jersey Supreme Court, which held its first session in its courtroom in the Statehouse Annex in Trenton on Sept. 15, 1948.
Biographical profiles of the first six Chief Justices to serve under the 1947 Constitution are contained below. Each of them were high-energy people who understood the importance of their role as a leader of the “Third Branch” of New Jersey Government
For more information about the New Jersey Judiciary before the enactment of the 1947 constitution, click here.
The New Jersey Supreme Court is composed of a chief justice and six associate justices. As the highest appellate court, the Supreme Court reviews cases from the lower courts. Most litigants must request that the court hear their appeal by filing conflicting Appellate Division decisions.
In very limited circumstances, such as where a judge in the Appellate Division files a dissenting opinion, a party can appeal as of right to the Supreme Court. In deciding the cases that come before it, the court interprets the New Jersey and the U.S Constitution, New Jersey statutes, administrative regulations of the state’s governmental agencies and the body of common law.
Chief Justice Stuart Rabner also serves as the administrative head for the court system and oversees the management of the state's courts.
Chief Justice Stuart Rabner formed the New Jersey Supreme Court Historical Advisory Board to preserve and promote and to educate the public on the rich history of the state’s highest appellate court.
The members of the board are:
Hon. Stewart G. Pollock (ret.), Chair
Hon. James H. Coleman, Jr. (ret.), Advisory Board Past Chair
Hon. John W. Bissell (ret.)
Steven D. Bonville
Hon. Phillip S. Carchman (ret.)
Hon. Amy Piro Chambers (ret.)
Dean Ronald K. Chen
Hon. Linda R. Feinberg (ret.)
Hon. Glenn A. Grant
Hon. Nelson C. Johnson
Hon. John A. Jorgensen
Hon. Virginia A. Long (ret.)
Heather Joy Baker
Hon. Stewart G. Pollock (ret.)
Hon. Edwin H. Stern (ret.)
Professor John B. Wefing
Professor Robert F. Williams
For more information about the board, its work or to donate photographs, documents and artifacts related to the New Jersey Supreme Court, contact Mike Mathis, Office of Communications and Community Relations, at 609-815-2900 ext. 52352 or at Mike.Mathis@njcourts.gov
The New Jersey Supreme Court is recognized as one of the leading state courts in the nation. The issues that come before the Court cover a vast array of topics from the education of our children to procedures in criminal trials. Cases come to the Court because the parties cannot agree. Often the circumstances of the cases are unique. The Court then must consider the unusual and often difficult problem presented and reach a decision that is fair and informed by existing law.
The following sections highlight some of the most notable cases by the New Jersey Supreme Court over the years and are designed to provide a better understanding of the Court’s work. They are not intended to provide a comprehensive statement of New Jersey law on the topics in question. Rather the sections highlight the scope of the important cases. Not all such cases are listed.
Hopefully, the discussion of these notable cases will provide a better appreciation of the Court’s role and give some insight into the development of New Jersey’s law. Because law evolves, whether through case law or legislative action or constitutional amendment, the reader should understand that any law or case discussed here may have been or may be subsequently modified or overturned.
The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice and does not create or constitute an attorney-client relationship. No reader, user, or browser of this website should act or refrain from acting based on information on this website without first seeking legal advice from their own legal counsel. Communication of information by, in, to or through this website and your receipt, reliance or use of it is not a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a qualified attorney.
All information, content, and materials appearing on this website are provided for general educational and/or informational purposes only. Information on this website may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information. The content on this website is provided "as is;" no representations are made that the content is error-free. Any and all liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on the contents of this website are hereby expressly disclaimed. Any views expressed on, or through, this website are those of the individual authors writing in their individual capacities only – and are not those of any justice, judge, official, employee or affiliate of the New Jersey State Judiciary.