Statement of the New Jersey Supreme Court on the Death of Justice Daniel J. O'Hern
For immediate release: April 2, 2009
For further information contact: Winnie Comfort or Tammy Kendig
Today is a sad day for New Jersey as we mourn the passing of retired Supreme Court Justice Daniel J. O'Hern, one of the great legal minds of the modern Supreme Court. Justice O'Hern was a kind and loving family man and a good friend and colleague.
He was known for the precision and clarity with which he defined and resolved complex legal principles. Through the 231 opinions he authored, he touched virtually every area of the law. He served the Court with a quiet dignity and razor sharp intellect that made him a leader among his peers.
Justice O'Hern served as chair of the Judicial Salary and Pensions Committee. He was appointed by the late Chief Justice Robert Wilentz as an advisor to the New Jersey Commission on Professionalism in the Law; and he chaired the Family Court Reorganization Committee. The Family Court Committee was charged with the task of carrying out the changes to the court system called for in the constitutional amendment that abolished the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court and created the Family Part in the Chancery Division. He also served on the Council of Judges of the National Council on Crime and Delinquency.
His rich history of public service includes serving as a councilman and mayor in Red Bank. He was commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection, serving under Gov. Brendan Byrne, and then was appointed Counsel to the Governor. Gov. Byrne announced his intention to appoint Justice O'Hern to the Supreme Court on April 20, 1981. The nomination was submitted to the Senate on May 4, and he was confirmed on May 20. He was sworn in on Aug. 6, 1981. He attained tenure in August 1988 when he was reappointed by Gov. Thomas Kean
We extend our deepest sympathy to Justice O'Hern's family, his wife Barbara, his children Daniel Jr., Eileen, James, John, and Molly and to his grandchildren.