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New Jersey Voters Approve Raising Judges’ Benefits Cost

A woman leaves the Point Pleasant Municipal Building after voting in the presedential election on November 6, 2012 in Point Pleasant, New Jersey. (credit: Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

A woman leaves the Point Pleasant Municipal Building after voting in the presedential election on November 6, 2012 in Point Pleasant, New Jersey. (credit: Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

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TRENTON, N.J. (AP) —  New Jersey voters have approved a ballot question forcing judges and state Supreme Court justices to pay more for retirement and health benefits.

Voters easily approved the constitutional change that allows a 2011 law requiring higher benefits contributions from public workers to apply to those on the bench.

A Hudson County judge who sued to block the law argued successfully that higher pension and medical costs amounted to a salary cut, which had been illegal under the constitution.

The provision was meant to shield judges and justices from retribution by lawmakers after potentially unfavorable rulings.

The law raised judges’ pension contributions from 3 percent of their salary to 12 percent by 2017.

That’s nearly $15,000 more for a typical judge who earns $165,000.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)