Partner Stuart M. Lederman Quoted Regarding Legacy of Richard J. Hughes, Delivers Remarks at Anniversary Event

Partner Stuart M. Lederman Quoted Regarding Legacy of Richard J. Hughes, Delivers Remarks at Anniversary Event
Jan 11, 2012

In a recent New Jersey Law Journal article, Stuart Lederman, partner and current President of the New Jersey State Bar Foundation, was quoted with regard to former New Jersey Governor and Chief Justice of the state’s Supreme Court, Richard J. Hughes.  Mr. Lederman notes that Hon. Hughes was “unique in the legal history of New Jersey,” adding his “legacy of an independent and progressive Judiciary continues to this day.  He was known as a consensus builder, and his character was above reproach.” 

The New Jersey Law Journal article appeared in advance of a celebration marking the 50th anniversary of Hon. Hughes’ inauguration as governor, held on January 19th.  Joining other distinguished members of the New Jersey Judiciary and legal community as a speaker, Mr. Lederman delivered the following remarks, welcoming guests to the event and touching upon Hon. Hughes’ legal legacy in New Jersey:

Good morning and welcome, distinguished guests, colleagues, and friends.  On behalf of the New Jersey State Bar Foundation, I would like to thank you all for being here today to commemorate a very special occasion:  the 50th anniversary of the inauguration as governor of one of the most respected, dedicated and just plain loved figures in the legal history of New Jersey, one whose name is so rightfully inscribed on the façade of this complex devoted to the justice system:  Richard J. Hughes.   Governor Hughes was unique in the annals of New Jersey law:  he is the only person who has earned the distinction of serving the state both as governor—two terms, no less--and as chief justice of the Supreme Court.  And having this august complex named after him—well, I’d say that constitutes a perfect trifecta of honors.

For many people, Richard Hughes was the face of governance and law in New Jersey.  He was known as a  progressive and a consensus builder, one who consistently reached out to and was highly regarded by both sides of the aisle, regardless of ideology.   Last year, when asked to name their favorite New Jersey governor, three Newark politicos –   former State Sen. Robert Sarcone, a Republican; former Assemblyman George Richardson, a Democrat; and North Ward Democratic leader Steve Adubato – all immediately named Gov. Hughes.  And when he was appointed Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court, it was by a Republican governor, William Cahill.  Those are only a few indications of the high esteem in which he was held throughout his long, distinguished career serving the people of New Jersey.

After reading Professor Wefings’ recent biography of Governor Hughes, one of the things that struck me was the Governor’s dedication to his family.  Long before any of us were discussing the need to balance family and work, he was doing it; whether he was busy as Governor or as Chief Justice he made time for his family.   The importance of family to him is also reflected in the public display that we have installed in the complex today:  photographs of him as Governor and photographs of him as Chief Justice framing photographs of him with his family.

You will hear more about this remarkable individual from our illustrious speakers.  Once again, welcome to this 50th anniversary celebration.  And now it is my pleasure to introduce the president of the New Jersey State Bar Association, Susan Feeney.