State of New Jersey
Executive Order #57

Governor Christine Todd Whitman

WHEREAS, Robert N. Wilentz, born in Perth Amboy in 1927, devoted more than twenty years of his life in public service to the people of the State of New Jersey; and

WHEREAS, in 1965, he was elected to the General Assembly and served for two terms; and

WHEREAS, he was appointed Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court by Governor Brendan Byrne in 1979 and subsequently provided leadership of the highest order until his retirement; and

WHEREAS, through his keen administrative judgment and his dedication to the independence of the judiciary, Chief Justice Wilentz was the primary force in making the New Jersey State court system the envy of the nation; and

WHEREAS, the extensive jurisprudence of the Wilentz Court, including opinions that upheld mandatory prison terms for persons convicted of crimes that involve the use of guns, recognized 'battered women's syndrome' as a defense for women charged in homicides, mandated that a municipality has an obligation to provide its fair share of low-income housing, banned surrogate-motherhood contracts, concluded that the State's school-aid formula was unconstitutional and upheld the registration and community notification requirements contained in 'Megan's Law' helped significantly to shape New Jersey's public policy for nearly two decades; and

WHEREAS, he brought pride to our State by drawing national recognition for his profound intellectual and administrative abilities during his remarkable tenure as the leader of the State's courts; and

WHEREAS, he was devoted to his wife and family and was considerate and compassionate to his friends and colleagues; and

WHEREAS, it is with deep sadness that we mourn the loss of Chief Justice Wilentz and extend our sincere sympathies to his family and friends; and

WHEREAS, it is fitting and appropriate for the State of New Jersey to mourn the passing of Chief Justice Wilentz and to honor his distinguished career in public service to our State;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, CHRISTINE TODD WHITMAN, Governor of the State of New Jersey, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and by the Statutes of this State, do hereby ORDER and DIRECT:

1. The flag of the United States of America and the flag of the State of New Jersey shall be flown at half-staff at all State departments, offices, agencies and instrumentalities during appropriate hours beginning on Friday, July 26, 1996 and through and including Friday, August 2, 1996 in recognition and mourning of the passing of Chief Justice Robert N. Wilentz.

2. This Order shall take effect immediately.

GIVEN, under my hand and seal this 25th day of July in the Year of Our Lord, One Thousand Nine Hundred and Ninety Six, and of the Independence of the United States, the Two Hundred and Twenty-First.

/s/ Christine Todd Whitman


/s/ Michael P. Torpey
Chief Counsel to the Governor