N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 145


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

In the Constitution last voted upon it was proposed that all of that work should be in the hands of the Chief Justice of the court of last resort, and that he should have an administrative assistant, the theory being to relieve him of all that work. But believe me, gentlemen, you can't relieve him of that work and at the same time make him responsible for it. I mean by that, that the burden will be on him. If he is not to be responsible, then don't make him responsible. It is illogical to make a chief judge of the highest appellate court responsible for the assignment of trial judges if you have an intermediate court in which there is a chief justice there.

Today, there rests on me the duty of making assignment of the trial judges in the lower courts. As a matter of fact, and as former Chief Justice Brogan will bear me out, that really imposes a duty upon the senior judge of the Circuit Court. He makes all the recommendations, but that didn't relieve you (talking to Mr. Brogan) and doesn't relieve me of the responsibility. I have all those things to take care of as they come along. Sometimes I do follow the recommendations of my helper, and sometimes I don't. I believe that it is an incongruous thing to put that duty upon the head of the chief of the court of last resort, if you have an intermediate court, with a presiding officer -

MR. McGRATH: Would you have the highest appeal court, the appellate court, assign judges to the intermediate courts of appeal?

CHIEF JUSTICE CASE: No, I would not, because I think that those judges should be appointed in the same way that the other judges are appointed - by the Governor, if he is the appointing officer - and that they should be appointed to that court, and not assigned. They should have a direct appointment; they should have the dignity of that appointment.

MR. McGRATH: Then you would have the highest court of appeal fixed, an intermediate court fixed, and then a substitute for the Supreme Court, or the old Supreme Court?

CHIEF JUSTICE CASE: Well, the intermediate court would be the old Supreme Court and, answering your question further, Judge, I would suggest that the head of this intermediate court, which I will call the old Supreme Court, should, I think, be as now, the directing officer over the Common Pleas judges. For instance, as I am today, I have the authority to transfer the Common Pleas judges from one county to another. I think, perhaps, that that should be preserved.

I am getting towards the end, gentlemen. In coming to the Court of Chancery, again come the questions: What is wrong? What should the remedy be? As I get it, the complaints about Chancery chiefly are the difficulties in the way of getting a decision by a single


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