When Chris Christie is fondly recalling bipartisan achievements reached along that boulevard of compromise he says he travels more frequently than the Garden State Parkway, I’d invite him to remember the instant collaboration on the judicial compensation resolution as a real example of the two sides working together to accomplish a common good.
Of course, it also leaves me with the sinking sensation that the world is ending, especially when you get press releases like this from the governor’s office: “I congratulate the Legislature for their decisive, bipartisan action that lives up to the promise of our historical pension and benefit reform by making sure everyone is treated fairly.”
This is dangerous, and hopefully no media outlets outside New Jersey pick up on it. Can you imagine the headlines about what’s become of the GOP? I mean, you have Mitt “I Brought the Olympics to the Middle of Nowhere” Romney going on the world’s stage, doing his best impression of John Kerry imitating Jimmy Carter, and worse yet, Christie — the guy Republicans actually wanted to run — is suddenly playing nice with Democrats, though at least he continues to do it at the expense of judges. Suddenly, Barack Obama looks like a safer bet than the New York Yankees in October.
Voters typically approve amendments to the state constitution, and it’s the only route left to get judges to pay more into their own pensions, since for some reason, the matter went before the very judges who would have to make the larger payments, and — in one of those unpredictable moments, like wondering how many buildings will explode in a Michael Bay movie — the judges decided it’s unconstitutional for them to contribute more. It was a quaint little effort, kind of like if Spencer Johnson instead had written a book called “Who Moved My Trough?”, but it looks as though this is going to come to pass.
I agree with the judges’ position that their service should not be politicized, but the free ride is rightly grounding to a halt everywhere else. Time for those fancy scales of justice to tip back in favor of the public.
I’m even more irreverent on Twitter @joe_arney.