N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 138

Tuesday, July 1, 1947 (Afternoon session)

CHIEF JUSTICE CASE: It may be that this is as good a time as any to discuss that question.

MR. BROGAN: Well, Justice Case, I wanted to say this to you. Here's what was set up before us by a very eminent authority this morning, Dean Pound: one appeal, judgment in a trial court and one appeal. If all of those appeals are to go to the court of last resort, a court of seven might well be submerged by the volume of work. As an alternative - I discussed this with him - would it not be wise to permit the Chief Justice of the court of last resort to set up from the trial line judges an appellate division of three, which Appellate Division would screen out, as has been the practice and has been the experience in the states where that has happened, 90 per cent of the appeals? There might be further appeals to the court of last resort where there was a division in the Appellate Division, or where there was a constitutional question, or where the court of last resort said, "This case is so important, we will take it." I just throw that out to you as a background for discussion.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: Might I add to that, that in your thinking on it, in giving to the upper court the power to create this Appellate Division, might that not be broad enough to allow them to create a number of Appellate Divisions?

CHIEF JUSTICE CASE: I wasn't thinking so much of the Legislature having to do with creating these divisions, as of the character of appeals; what might be appealed from. Now, the 1944 proposal provided for these appeals: - first, in capital cases and cases involving a question arising under the Constitution of the United States or of this State, which appeals shall be taken directly to the Supreme Court; second, in the event of a dissent in the Appellate Division; third, on certification by an Appellate Division; and fourth, on certification by the Court of Appeals to the lower court.

MR. BROGAN: We thought the Appellate Division should have nothing to do with the limitation of that. It should be the court of last resort. ... That is only a detail.

CHIEF JUSTICE CASE: Of course, that's a matter for debate. What they do in New York is to make a provision like this, - "That appeals in civil cases be as follows: as of right from a judgment or order rendered from a decision of the Appellate Division ..." Now, I'm not going to take the time to read through all of that, because you can read it yourselves. I suggest to you a reading of the provisions of the New York constitutional provision as to what they allow appeals from, and how the appeals should be taken. These are not meant to be followed; but it is a matter of large importance to decide what appeals there may be. You may wish all of the light that you can get and to know what has been done in other places in that respect.

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