WEST ORANGE – Senator Richard J. Codey (D-Essex) today sent a letter to New Jersey Supreme Court Chief Justice Stuart Rabner calling for the court, under Rabner’s guidance, to begin disciplinary proceedings against Justice Rivera-Soto with the goal of removing him from office.
Rivera-Soto last month declared he would refuse to take part in any further court rulings. Yesterday, he declared that he would now rule only in cases where Justice Stern’s vote does not affect the outcome. He said a “voice” caused him to change his mind. Additionally, last week he announced that he would not seek renomination to the court when his term expires later this year. Rivera-Soto’s erratic and irrational behavior call for his immediate removal, said Codey.
A copy of Senator Codey’s letter is below.
Chief Justice, New Jersey State Supreme Court
State of New Jersey
P.O. Box 970
Trenton, NJ 08625-0970
Dear Chief Justice Rabner,
Last week I wrote directly to Justice Rivera-Soto calling on him to step down from his position from the New Jersey State Supreme Court. Clearly, Justice Rivera-Soto has no intention of doing so. His presence on the bench continues to cast a pall over the court and his actions serve only to make a mockery of himself and his colleagues. I am therefore requesting that the court, under your guidance, begin disciplinary proceedings against Justice Rivera-Soto with the goal of removing him from office.
Justice Rivera-Soto declared last month that he would no longer participate in any rulings on the Court. This week, he changed course, but in a way that recklessly compromises our system of justice. He will now rule only in cases where Justice Stern’s vote does not affect the outcome. His about face was the result of his having heard an unspecified “voice”. Moreover, Justice Rivera-Soto recently informed the Governor that he does not wish to be considered for renomination to the New Jersey State Supreme Court when his term expires this year. All of these actions make it clear that Justice Rivera-Soto is no longer capable of serving on the Court and, since he will not go voluntarily, must be removed immediately.
As I informed him directly last week, by remaining on the Court, Justice Rivera-Soto will only cause further chaos and impede the judicial system during a critical juncture. His style and demeanor throughout his tenure have called into question his capability of serving. Now, we are stuck with the possibility of some of the most important court rulings in decades being decided based on a “voice”. That is unacceptable.
It is my understanding that the Court has the power to remove Justice Rivera-Soto through disciplinary proceedings. These are the same proceedings that led to the Court censuring him in 2007. I urge the court, for the well being of the state, to move forward with this process as soon as possible.
Richard J. Codey
Senator, District 27