James R. Zazzali

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James Ronald Zazzali
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of New Jersey
In office
October 26, 2006 – June 17, 2007
Nominated byChristine Todd Whitman
Preceded byDaniel Joseph O'Hern
Succeeded byStuart Rabner
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of New Jersey
In office
May 25, 2000 – October 26, 2006
Attorney General of New Jersey
In office
GovernorBrendan Byrne
Preceded byJohn J. Degnan
Succeeded byIrwin I. Kimmelman
Personal details
Born (1937-06-17) June 17, 1937 (age 82)
Newark, New Jersey
Spouse(s)Eileen Fitzsimmons

James Ronald Zazzali (born June 17, 1937) was the Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court from October 26, 2006[1] until his retirement on June 17, 2007. He previously served as an associate justice of the Supreme Court from June 14, 2000.


Zazzali was born in Newark, New Jersey on June 17, 1937 of Italian descent, he studied at Seton Hall Preparatory School, and later graduated with a B.S. from Georgetown College in 1958 and was awarded a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center. After graduation, he was admitted into the bars of New Jersey, New York, and the District of Columbia.[2]

Zazzali served as the Chief of the Appeals Division in the Office of the Essex County Prosecutor, he also served as the General Counsel to the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority and was a receiver for Bloomfield College. He went on to become the Chairman of the New Jersey State Commission of Investigation, the Vice-Chairman of the Disciplinary Review Board, and served as New Jersey Attorney General from 1981-1982, he was also appointed as Special Master for county jails in Essex, Monmouth, and Bergen counties. He also served on delegations to certain United Nations conferences.

Zazzali was nominated by Governor Christine Todd Whitman for the position of justice to the NJ Supreme Court on May 18, 2000, and was confirmed on May 25, 2000, he was officially sworn into the position by then-Chief Justice Deborah T. Poritz. In September 2006, with Poritz nearing mandatory retirement age, Governor Jon Corzine nominated Zazzali for promotion to Chief Justice.[3]

Zazzali was sworn in as Chief Justice on October 26, 2006, he left the court upon reaching the mandatory retirement age of 70 on June 17, 2007 and was replaced by then-Attorney General Stuart Rabner.

Zazzali is married to Eileen Fitzsimmons and has five children: Mara; James, Jr., Robert; Courtney; and Kevin.[4] He has been a resident of Rumson, New Jersey.[5]


  1. ^ New Chief Justice Assumes Leadership of Court Today Archived 2007-08-24 at the Wayback Machine, press release dated October 26, 2006
  2. ^ Staff. "Retired Chief Justice James R. Zazzali", New Jersey Supreme Court, backed up by the Internet Archive as of April 25, 2009. Accessed March 10, 2011. "Chief Justice Zazzali was born in Newark on June 17, 1937. He attended Seton Hall Preparatory School and was graduated from Georgetown College in 1958 and Georgetown Law Center in 1962."
  3. ^ Governor Nominates Supreme Court Justice Zazzali to Serve as Chief Justice and Appellate Judge Hoens to Serve as Associate Justice Archived 2007-07-18 at the Wayback Machine, press release dated September 21, 2006.
  4. ^ Justice James R. Zazzali Archived 2009-04-25 at the Wayback Machine, accessed October 10, 2006.
  5. ^ via Associated Press. "NEW JERSEY / ZAZZALI BECOMES STATE'S TOP JUDGE", The Press of Atlantic City, October 27, 2006. Accessed March 10, 2011. "Zazzali, a Democrat from Rumson, replaces Chief Justice Deborah T. Poritz, who retired Wednesday - the day before her 70th birthday, the mandatory age for retirement from the post."
Legal offices
Preceded by
John J. Degnan
Attorney General of New Jersey
1981 – 1982
Succeeded by
Irwin I. Kimmelman
Preceded by
Deborah T. Poritz
Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court
2006 – 2007
Succeeded by
Stuart Rabner