- Category: Volume 87 (Fall 2015 - Spring 2016)
- Published: 07 October 2015
- Written by BENJAMIN SMITH | CONTRIBUTING WRITER
Kean on legal and policy matters. When Governor Kean left office in 1990, she joined the Princeton law firm of Jamieson, Moore, Peskin & Spicer, where she was a partner. She left there in 1994 to become attorney general. She served as attorney general from 1994 to 1996, when she was named chief justice. With the completion of her seven year term, Poritz was re-nominated to the Supreme Court in 2003 by Governor James McGreevey, giving her a mandate to continue as chief justice until she reached the compulsory retirement age of seventy, in October 2006.
“I am very excited to have such a notable state jurist as this year’s Public Servant in Residence,” said Professor of Political Science at Monmouth University, Gregory Bordelon, Director for the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning.
“I am particularly looking forward to the insight that Justice Poritz will provide our students on the topic of judicial decision making and how the legal and attitudinal factors of analyzing complex and controversial matters of law have impacted (and continue impact through our system of stare decisis) the state,” said Bordelon. “Her opinion-writing is comprehensive but practical and is, most importantly, pedagogical to the role of the court in our system of government.”
Despite her conservative ideologies, she authored three decisions friendly to civil rights plaintiffs.
In Green v. Jersey City (2003) and Lockley v. Dep’t of Corrections (2003), Poritz wrote opinions that helped end more than a decade of confusion by saying public bodies could be held liable for punitive damages in cases under the Law Against Discrimination and the Conscientious Employee Protection Act.
She also wrote Dale v. Boy Scouts of America (1999), which forbade the Boy Scouts from expelling a member because he was an avowed homosexual.
“Chief Justice Poritz is a piece of history that the students are fortunate enough to be able to learn from,” said a graduate in the school of Public Policy, Mary Lou Pardey. “While reading about her is one thing, actually being able to have a discussion with her is something you can’t find in a classroom.”
For the last eight years, Poritz has been of counsel at Drinker Biddle & Reath, where she concentrates on mediation, arbitration and appellate matters in the firm’s Princeton office. For three years during this time period, she taught at Rutgers-Camden and Rutgers-Newark law schools as jurist emerita in residence.
Poritz has also remained actively involved in New Jersey’s civic life. She is currently chair of the board of Legal Services of New Jersey, a vice-chair and secretary of the board of the Princeton HealthCare System, and a member of the board of the philanthropic Fund for New Jersey.
She sits on the Advisory Panel established by Governor Jon Corzine to consider candidates for state judicial office and chairs both the Supreme Court Ad Hoc Committee on Code of Judicial Conduct and the Sentencing/Corrections Task Force, a group charged with reviewing state sentencing/corrections policy for the Governor
She has received honorary degrees from Montclair University, Seton Hall University School of Law, Rutgers-Newark University School of Law, Monmouth University, and Thomas Edison State College, and she has been presented with the National Association of Women Judges’ Lifetime Achievement Award, among others.
“We are delighted to welcome Chief Justice Poritz to our campus to share her experience in law and public service with our students and faculty,” said University President Paul R. Brown, Ph.D. in a press release through the University. “There is no substitute for learning directly from an expert with real-world experience. Justice Poritz’s knowledge of legal issues and her perspective on the evolution of social issues in the courts is sure to provide for many lively discussions.”
Monmouth University’s public servant in residence program, coordinated by the Office of Global Initiatives and the Department of Political Science and Sociology, was created in 2000 to provide a venue for public officials who wish to share their expertise with students and the campus community at Monmouth University.
The last four former Public Servants in Residents include former New Jersey Governors Jim Florio, Christine Todd Whitman, Brendan Byrne, and former Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court James Zazzalli.
“Dr. Patten has been able to retain nothing short of an amazing cadre of New Jersey policy makers and public officials; it is their practical wisdom and insight into civic life in New Jersey that can truly inspire our students interested in law, politics, and public policy to serve the greater good,” said Bordelon.