N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 149


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

Watson) you will correct me if I am wrong - was that the rules were intended to cover that.

MR. RUSSELL E. WATSON: That's correct.

CHIEF JUSTICE CASE: But those are matters that should be made clear, because a court obviously would be very slow in undertaking to do by rule what seemed to be against the intent of the paragraphs in which the authority was furnished.

(Off-the-record discussion)

MR. WAYNE D. McMURRAY: May I be excused, Mr. Chairman?

VICE-CHAIRMAN: Surely.

MR. McMURRAY: May I apologize to the speaker, Chief Justice Case, for this interruption?

CHIEF JUSTICE CASE: Of course. My apologies for taking so much of your time ...

VICE-CHAIRMAN: I think we can continue.

CHIEF JUSTICE CASE: There was some question about the expense of Chancery proceedings, and exactly that means the allowances that are sometimes granted in Chancery. You lawyers will recall that every once in a while the Court of Errors and Appeals says its mind about what the amount of allowance should be and reduces it.

Then, there is a question of switching matrimonial cases from equity into law. That, I suggest, is already a legislative question. The jurisdiction of Chancery of matrimonial matters is legislative, not constitutional, and that can be done by the Legislature any time it wants to. I have grave doubt about the wisdom of putting matrimonial questions into the law courts, but that is something I don't wish to say anything further about, except that it is unwise to put such a provision in the Constitution.

Well, now, the result of it all is that we Justices of the Supreme Court are not convinced of the need of abolishing the individuality of the Court of Chancery, which has added such lustre to the interpretation and application of the principles of equity. We are of the opinion that the correction of its defects may be accomplished with more certainty if the court is preserved, than by a shift to a new system, the shortcomings of which we do not now foresee. We know what we have, but we don't know just what we shall get.

In this closing word let me say that we Justices of the Supreme Court are merely giving our views in response to the very courteous invitation of this body that we do so. We advocate nothing. We oppose nothing. We are simply trying to help by telling you what we think and the reasons why we think that way. Any workable plan that will suit you and suit the people, will suit us.


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