Despite being the top official in New Jersey’s judicial branch, Stuart Rabner has maintained a relatively low-key and quiet state presence compared to his counterparts in the state Legislature and executive branch. Granted, that does not mean that Rabner has not been making noise. As the state’s top judge he can, and has, issued directives for how lower-level courts statewide conduct this business, such as limiting how much courts will cooperate with federal immigration officials when it comes to undocumented residents.
One of Rabner’s cornerstone efforts of the past year has been to merge many local courts and allow the towns to opt into shared, regional municipal courts. This move came as legislative leaders have proposed similar measures for school districts and municipal governments. In both cases, the arguments have been that the proposal would reduce redundant government and cut down on wasteful spending. Rabner has also been critical of how towns and cities use fines and fees imposed by judges as revenue for their municipal budget — a practice that he wants to see end.