supreme court virtual museum heading

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.

State of New Jersey Constitutional Convention of 1947 Committee on The Judiciary

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. James H. Coleman, Jr. (ret.), Advisory Board Chair
Hon. John W. Bissell (ret.)
Steven D. Bonville, Esq.
Hon. Phillip S. Carchman (ret.)
Hon. Amy Piro Chambers (ret.)
Dean Ronald K. Chen
Thomas Curtin, Esq.
Hon. Linda R. Feinberg (ret.)
Hon. Glenn A. Grant
Hon. Nelson C. Johnson
Hon. John A. Jorgensen
Hon. Virginia A. Long (ret.)
Mark Neary, Esq.
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

Chief Justice
Arthur T. Vanderbilt (1948-1957)
Chief Justice
Joseph Weintraub (1957-1973)
Chief Justice
Pierre Garven (1973)
Chief Justice
Richard J. Hughes (1973-1979)
Chief Justice
Robert N. Wilentz (1979-1996)
Chief Justice
Deborah T. Poritz (1996-2006)
Chief Justice
James R. Zazzali (2006-2007)

Interview of Governor Gary Stein
Eagleton Institute of Politics
Interview of Associate Justice
Gary S. Stein
Interview of Governor Stewart Pollock
Eagleton Institute of Politics
Interview of Associate Justice
Stewart G. Pollock
Interview of American Governor   Alan B. Handler
Eagleton Institute of Politics
Interview of Associate Justice
Alan B. Handler
Interview of American Governor  Peter G. Verniero
Eagleton Institute of Politics
Interview of Associate Justice
Peter G. Verniero

Swearing-in of Chief Justice Stuart Rabner
Swearing-in of Chief Justice
Stuart Rabner
Swearing-in of AJ Barry T. Albin
Swearing-in of Associate Justice
Barry T. Albin
Associate Justice Robert L Clifford Memorial
Memorial Ceremony of Associate Justice
Robert L Clifford Memorial
Swearing-in of AJ Justice James Coleman
Swearing-in of Associate Justice
James H. Coleman Jr
Courtroom Dedication and Portrait Presentation of Associate Justice Marie L. Garibaldi
Courtroom Dedication and Portrait Presentation of
Associate Justice Marie L. Garibaldi
Swearing-in of AJ Helen E. Hoens
Swearing-in of Associate Justice
Helen E. Hoens
Swearing-in of AJ Jaynee LaVecchia
Swearing-in of Associate Justice
Jaynee LaVecchia
Swearing-in of AJ's  Virginia Long and Peter G. Verniero
Swearing-in of Associate Justices
Virginia Long and Peter G. Verniero
Swearing-in of AJ Anne M. Patterson
Swearing-in of Associate Justice
Anne M. Patterson
Swearing-in of CJ Deborah T. Poritz
Swearing-in of Chief Justice
Deborah T. Poritz
Interview of Chief Justice
Interview of Chief Justice
Deborah T. Poritz
Swearing-in of AJ Lee Solomon
Swearing-in of Associate Justice
Lee Solomon
Conversation with Chief Justice Richard J. Hughes
A Conversation with Chief Justice
Richard J. Hughes
Swearing-in of AJ Roberto A. Rivera-Soto
Swearing-in of Associate Justice
Roberto A. Rivera-Soto
Swearing-in of AJ Fernandez-Vina
Swearing-in of Associate Justice
Faustino J. Fernandez-Vina
Swearing-in of AJ Walter F. Timpone
Swearing-in of Associate Justice
Walter F. Timpone
Swearing-in of AJ John E. Wallace Jr
Swearing-in of Associate Justice
John E. Wallace Jr
A Conversation with Chief Justice Robert N. Wilentz
A Conversation with
Chief Justice Robert N. Wilentz
After the Court: Chief Justice James R. Zazzali
Interview of American Governor
James R. Zazzali
After the Court: Chief Justice James R. Zazzali
After the Court
Chief Justice James R. Zazzali