STATEMENT OF THE NEW JERSEY SUPREME COURT ON THE DEATH OF RETIRED ASSOCIATE JUSTICE MARK A. SULLIVAN
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Winnie Comfort, AOC
For release: Nov. 13, 2001
Justice Mark Sullivan spent most of his legal career as a judge. First appointed to the bench before the adoption of the 1947 Constitution, he sat on the Hudson County District Court from 1949 to 1953, when he was appointed to the Superior Court. In March of 1959, he was assigned to the Appellate Division of Superior Court by then-Chief Justice Joseph Weintraub. He served with distinction on that court until March 23, 1973, when he was sworn in as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. By operation of the New Jersey Constitution, Justice Sullivan had to retire from the Court on August 11,1981, his seventieth birthday.
Shortly after his retirement from the Supreme Court, Justice Sullivan asked to be recalled for service in the Superior Court in Monmouth County, where he zestfully undertook assignments, great and small, for many years. In addition, Justice Sullivan accepted administrative assignments from then-Chief Justice Wilentz and the Supreme Court. Among the most important of those assignments was the chairmanship of the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct, a position that called on him to use all of the skills he had developed over the years as a sitting judge and Justice.
The constantly repeating theme of Justice Sullivans career was his unbounded commitment to the evenhanded administration of justice for all who came before the courts. He believed strongly that court opinions should be only as long as absolutely necessary to resolve the issues that were before the Court. He sought to inform and guide the parties, the bench, and the bar in a manner that was as cogent as it was concise. Evidence of his commitment to an economy of expression can be found throughout the hundreds of reported opinions he wrote during his career.
Justice Mark Sullivan was a practical man, a cultured man, and, most of all, a man who dearly loved the work he performed so well. He was a firm believer in tradition, and he deeply respected the institution he and his fellow Justices served. Those qualities helped make him an invaluable part of the Supreme Court. In the light of his wealth of experience, his arrival on the Court was viewed with anticipation and pleasure, his service with appreciation for the quality of his performance, and his departure with sincere and deep regret.
The Court extends its sympathy and condolences to the Sullivan family. With the passing of the Justice, the people of New Jersey have lost a State institution. Fortunately, the opinions Justice Sullivan wrote over his remarkable career will remain forever as his legacy to those who are fortunate enough to be following in his footsteps.