N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 126


STATE OF NEW JERSEY CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION OF 1947
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
Tuesday, July 1, 1947 (Morning session)

error of the situation 75 years ago. So have most of the states of the Union. New Jersey itself has done the very same thing in its present Constitution, and has done it to an extent which I submit is further than would seem necessary. I refer to Article IV, Section VII, paragraph 10 of the present Constitution, which specifically provides that "The Legislature may vest in the Circuit Courts or Courts of Common Pleas within the several counties of this State Chancery powers, so far as relates to the foreclosure of mortgages, and sale of mortgaged premises." The Legislature has enacted R.S. 2:65-35. The courts - that is, the Circuit Courts (I see a Circuit Court judge sitting there) - I know and the courts know, that while not often, both the Circuit and the Common Pleas Courts do foreclose mortgages, - and the heavens have not yet fallen.

Now, I don't think, gentlemen, that to remedy the differences to which I have been alluding here, New Jersey need in its new Constitution go as far as it has gone in its old Constitution, because New Jersey here, in what I have just read to you, has taken Chancery powers by the throat and put them entirely in that classification, put them entirely in the common law courts. That is not necessary; I can see reasons why that should not be done. But it is a very much less thing to do to give the common law courts equitable jurisdiction over purely incidental matters. And if that is done, then it would seem, upon the basis of the legal facts, that the law would be built for man and not man for the law.

MR. McGRATH: Judge, may I make this clear? I think it's very important that we all understand your ideas. Your idea is that the Court of Chancery should be left alone, with powers given to it to decide any question of law which might arise -

JUDGE HARTSHORNE: I did not say quite that. I said that to my mind it was not so important whether the Court of Chancery was left alone, or was created as a Chancery Division; that in either event, the thing of outstanding importance to me was that the people for whom the courts exist should be entitled to complete justice in a single hearing with a single jury.

MR. AMOS F. DIXON: I have a question I would like to ask. Suppose that we went to Hawaii and set up a court system on the same basis as I understand the federal court system is set up, so that we just have one court that covers all questions - that is, eliminate the divisions. In your opinion, would that work satisfactorily in New Jersey? Would it be a vast improvement; would it be better than if we set up a simplified court with divisions?

JUDGE HARTSHORNE: You would be getting an advantage, and at the same time you would be getting a disadvantage. The advantage you would get would be the elimination of the difficulties to which I have been alluding. The disadvantage you would get


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