New Jersey is dealing with a novel strike. New Jersey Supreme Court Justice Roberto Rivera-Soto had gone on strike in protest to what he believes is the unlawful appointment of a temporary replacement for Justice John Wallace, who was not re-appointed by Gov. Chris Christie. Rivera-Soto believes that there is no authority for such an appointment and has refused to participate in cases with the interloper.
Chief Justice Stuart Rabner announced that he was going to appoint a judge temporarily to fill in the seat after the state Senate refused to deal with the appointment of someone to succeed Wallace.
Rivera-Soto condemned the decision: “The assignment of a Superior Court judge to serve on this court to fill a vacancy resulting from a political impasse between the executive and legislative branches thrusts the judiciary into that political thicket, all the while improperly advancing one side’s views in preference over the other’s . . . The Constitution, sober and reflective court practice, and everyday common sense each counsels against the foolhardy steps the court today takes.”
Most of the justices, however, are supporting Rabner. Senate President Sweeney condemned Rivera-Soto: “Today’s dissent from Justice Rivera-Soto shows contempt for the law, disregard for his fellow jurists and utter disdain for the right of New Jerseyans to have their cases heard by a full court. . . It officially cements his place as the worst and most ethically challenged Justice in the history of the modern judiciary.”
I have not been able to find the specific authority that allows for the appointment of a temporary justice to the Supreme Court — leading credence to the position of Rivera-Soto. However, it is common to appoint lower court judges by designation to appellate courts in the federal system (and vice versa).