N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 133

Tuesday, July 1, 1947 (Afternoon session)

that question, the next question will be: "Well, of the proposals to correct that wrong, which is the best? Is it necessary to have something new, or will the changing of present conditions suffice?"

That, in general, is the way we think the motion toward change in the Constitution should go.

We naturally would start with the Court of Errors and Appeals, not only because that is the highest court in the State, but because it is the court about which there seems to be little or no dispute as to the need for a change. We can apply the same system to that court as to the others. How serious, then, is the wrong and what is the remedy? There are a number of things that are wrong about the Court of Errors and Appeals, and that are seriously wrong. It isn't necessary, in order to make the point, to go into all of them; but for one thing, there is the wastefulness of that court. As you lawyer members know, whenever a case comes before the Court of Errors and Appeals in which Supreme Court Justices have sat below, they get up and walk out of the conference. Those high officials of the State cool their heels walking up and down corridors, or otherwise wait until the court has determined the question upon which they sat below. We think that is rather wasteful of valuable time.

There is the size of the court - 16 members. Now, at this table there are 11; take this and add five for the court, and you can see that you get something more like a town meeting. That is wasteful, too, because the time consumed in discussing questions is very great. Just the mere matter of roll call consumes time. I am not criticizing the results of that court in the way of decisions. I believe that, whatever you do, you will not have any better law pronounced. That is not the point. We feel that a much smaller number would give as good a cross-section of differing viewpoints and would be much more saving and more efficient in other ways.

But perhaps the most important fault is the conflict in the duties of the Supreme Court Justices in acting contemporaneously upon the Court of Errors and Appeals and upon the Supreme Court. You perhaps have observed that in the proposed Constitution of 1944 which was voted down at the polls there was a provision that there should be a single term of the Court of Errors and Appeals, and a single term of what is there called the Superior Court. I may say to you that it has been the ambition of the Court of Errors and Appeals for a long time to have a single annual term, but that has been impossible because the nine Supreme Court Justices have also to sit in the Supreme Court. The Court of Errors and Appeals has three terms a year, the Supreme Court has three terms a year. The Supreme Court meets, let us say, for the October term, and then two weeks later the Court of Errors and Appeals meets. Naturally, the Court of Errors and Appeals' work takes priority. The Supreme

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