Alan Handler, Liberal Lion Of N.J. Supreme Court, Dies At 92


Alan B. Handler, a brilliant liberal judge who served for over 22 years as an associate justice on the New Jersey Supreme Court and authored the controversial Abbott vs. Burke school funding decision, passed away on May 23 at the age of 92.

Handler played a crucial role in a liberal voting bloc alongside Chief Justice Robert Wilentz, Stewart Pollock, and Daniel O’Hern. Chief Justice Stuart Rabner praised Handler’s scholarly opinions on various legal topics, highlighting his lasting impact on the court’s decisions and jurisprudence.

Known for his prolific writing, Handler penned nearly 300 opinions during his tenure from 1977 to 1999. He strongly opposed the death penalty, advocated for women and children’s rights, and notably supported allowing girls to participate in Little League baseball.

Handler’s rulings promoted free speech on college campuses, established stringent guidelines against workplace discrimination, and prioritized children’s welfare over parents with substance abuse or mental health issues. He emphasized that parental rights, while important, are not absolute.

In his early days on the court, Handler voted to strike down New Jersey’s outdated fornication law, leading to the overturning of a conviction under that law. Additionally, in 1984, he authored a majority opinion supporting the governor’s authority to veto specific parts of the state budget deemed excessive or unwise.

Comment via Facebook

Corrections: If you are aware of an inaccuracy or would like to report a correction, we would like to know about it. Please consider sending an email to [email protected] and cite any sources if available. Thank you. (Policy)

Comments are closed.