Mary C. Jacobson

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Mary C. Jacobson
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Current Court Information:
New Jersey Vicinage 7
Title:   Presiding Judge
Position:   Superior Court, Chancery Division
Active:   2001-2023
Past position:   Assistant Attorney General, New Jersey
Past term:   1993-2001
Personal History
Born:   1953
Undergraduate:   Smith College, 1974
Law School:   New York University School of Law, 1978

Mary C. Jacobson is a judge on the Vicinage 7 Superior Court in New Jersey.[1] Jacobson was appointed to the court in 2001 and obtained tenured status in 2008. She will now serve on the court until she reaches 70 years of age in 2023.[2][3]


Jacobson received her undergraduate degree from Smith College in 1974 and her J.D. from New York University School of Law in 1978.[4]


  • 2001-2023: Judge, New Jersey Vicinage 7
  • 1993-2001: Assistant Attorney General, New Jersey
  • 1979-1993: Deputy Assistant Attorney General, New Jersey[4]

Notable cases

Judge blocks Legislature's attempt to subpoena documents relating to "Bridgegate" scandal

April 9, 2014
Judge Jacobson ruled on April 9, 2014 that Bridget Kelly, Gov. Christie’s former deputy chief of staff, and Bill Stepien, the governor's former campaign manager do not have to hand over documents subpoenaed by the New Jersey Legislature. The subpoenas came as the result of the "Bridgegate" scandal in which traffic jams on the George Washington Bridge were allegedly orchestrated by members of Gov. Christie's administration as an act of political revenge. The New Jersey Select Committee on Investigations, while looking into the matter, subpoenaed Kelly and Stepien in order to obtain further evidence in the scandal. According to the court, the committee requested "all communications, documents, and phone records relating to the lane closures."[5] When the requests were denied, the committee sought a court order requiring Kelly and Stepien to comply with the subpoenas.[6]

Judge Jacobson ruled that the Legislature's request was too broad, amounting to a "fishing expedition."[7] The defendants had argued that the subpoenas violated their constitutional protection against self-incrimination. With so many documents requested, the court found that at least some of them were likely to be incriminating.

Another consideration of the court was whether it had the authority to enforce decisions of the Legislature. The judge found that the committee itself had the authority to enforce its subpoenas. These "complicated and untested jurisdictional issues" affirmed the judge's decision not to require the defendants to produce the documents.[5]

John Wisniewski, co-chairman of the legislative committee, stated:

This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.

The committee felt it was very much in the public interest to seek to compel the production of these documents, but as we’ve said before, there’s more than one method to gather information in an investigation, and we will consider alternatives.

—John Wisniewski[8]

Judge rules New Jersey must allow same-sex marriages

September 27, 2013
Judge Mary Jacobson ruled on September 27, 2013 that the state of New Jersey must allow same-sex marriages, in light of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act in June. That decision marked the start of the federal government's recognition of same-sex marriages, though couples in civil unions no longer get the same federal benefits as married couples. Jacobson's decision marks the first time that a judge has used the SCOTUS decision to strike down a state marriage law. Judge Jacobson wrote in her decision:

This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.

The ineligibility of same-sex couples for federal benefits is currently harming same-sex couples in New Jersey in a wide range of contexts.[9]

This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.

Same-sex couples must be allowed to marry in order to obtain equal protection of the law under the New Jersey Constitution.[10]
The New Jersey Supreme Court denied the state's appeal on the ruling, making New Jersey the 14th state to recognize same-sex marriage, effective November 11, 2013.[11]

See also

External links


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