N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 132


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

ing views as to what would be an ideal Constitution for the State of New Jersey.

CHIEF JUSTICE CASE: Well, I did try to make a few scratch notes and to refer to some books to amplify my own knowledge. It may be the books will stay right in my bag - probably they will. As I said, I am authorized to speak for the members of the court, and in giving you my views I think I am giving you the views of all of the members of the Supreme Court. If otherwise, I will tell you so as I come to the particular point. Justice Colie will tell you what he thinks, and I think you will find that in most respects he will say much the same thing as I am saying.

Now, we don't have the feeling that because our Constitution is a hundred years old it is, for that reason, outmoded. I have heard it said that the Constitution was designed for a rural State of small population and that, therefore, it is to be wiped out. Well, age in itself is not a flaw. If it were, we would seriously be considering wiping out the United States Constitution. The United States Constitution is older by, I suppose, 60 years than the State Constitution, but nobody talks about wiping out the United States Constitution because it is old, or because it was designed for a few states along the Atlantic seaboard with a sparse and rural population.

Speaking generally, it should, I think, be noted that nothing that man does is perfect. Anything that this Convention may do in striving to the utmost to achieve perfection will be found to be imperfect when the accomplishment is had. You may have had the experience of attempting to build a house, and you have employed not only the finest architect you could get, but you have devoted your own ideas, and those of your wife, if you are fortunate enough to have one. You think you've got something that's perfect, and you put it in brick and stone and wood, and when it's done you find so many mistakes that you are inclined to start over again and build a house that really suits you. Now that's all aside, except for the point that merely having something that isn't perfect is hardly a reason why we should throw it out of the window.

We have heard it said, also, that in England they do it this way, and in New York they do it that way, and in Missouri they do it another way. Now, ladies and gentlemen, if you were to go to New York and to England and to Missouri, you would find that they do not think that they have achieved perfection. They have different systems, but what I am getting at is not that what we have shouldn't be changed, but that it shouldn't be changed simply because it is old or short of perfection.

Our notion of the correct approach to this problem is that we should first see what is wrong and then, having discovered what is wrong, find out how seriously it is wrong. Then, having answered


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