TRENTON, N.J. – Passaic County will soon pause civil and divorce trials like Hunterdon, Somerset and Warren counties because of a severe judge shortage that Assemblywoman Aura Dunn says is endangering children caught in limbo. She is calling on Gov. Phil Murphy and Senate leadership to prioritize the judicial confirmation process so family court cases can resume.
“The consistent judge shortage creates a real concern for child safety and wellbeing, especially for kids living in North Jersey who are now on hold indefinitely. It is yet another indication that this administration and Senate leadership does not put family first,” Dunn (R-Morris) said.
Currently, there are 55 judicial vacancies in New Jersey. If no judges are confirmed this summer, there will be 62 vacancies by Sept. 1 because of retirements. A vacancy of 25 to 30 judges is what courts consider manageable.
“New Jersey’s courts are at an impasse, because of the judge shortage and there is no real commitment from Democrats that the Senate Judiciary Committee will meet in July or August. Meanwhile, children are waiting on official custody decisions and possibly living in situations that are not healthy mentally or physically,” Dunn added.
There are 18 Superior Court nominees pending before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is chaired by Democrat Sen. Brian Stack.
“Until there is a date on the calendar clearly indicating the judicial nominations are moving forward, promises to the public to fill the vacancies are meaningless,” Dunn said. “The purpose to my call to action is to convey the real sense of urgency that everyday families are feeling and prevent children from becoming victim to a broken justice system. I implore our state leaders to protect New Jersey’s vulnerable children by immediately addressing the shortage.”