N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 150


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

VICE-CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much, Chief Justice Case. I want to express our appreciation for the help you have given us.

It is now 3:45. We will recess for two or three minutes and then we will reconvene for our next speaker, Mr. Russell Watson.

(Recess. The session reconvened at 3:48 P. M.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN: Gentlemen, are you ready to proceed? If so, then I will call our next speaker, Mr. Russell Watson, who is personal counsel to Governor Driscoll.

MR. WATSON: Mr. Chairman, lady and gentlemen of the Committee:

I prefer to appear before your Committee as a member of the bar and as counsel to the Judiciary Committee which drafted the 1944 proposal, and not as counsel to the Governor. Governor Driscoll is well able to express his own views, and I am quite sure that he will be glad to do so if the Committee will invite him to, as it undoubtedly will.

MR. BROGAN: We didn't know whether he would want to come.

(Off-the-record discussion)

MR. WATSON: I have divided what I have to present, for whatever it may be worth, under seven headings. You have already heard much under all of these headings. Therefore, I shall confine myself to the elements of the subject, at the convenience of the Committee, and in the interest of time-saving.

1. I hope that the Judiciary Article in the proposed Constitution will provide for a new court of last resort, composed of judges who have nothing else to do. That is non-controversial.

2. There should be a better system of appeals. Under our present court system, in one category of cases there is one appeal, and that only on the law. In another category there is one appeal, and that on the law and on the facts. In another category there are two, three and four separate proceedings possible before a final determination is reached. Obviously, that is a waste of time and money. There should be only one appeal in the great majority of cases, and only two in cases of greater import, involving constitutional questions, where the question is of sufficient importance to be certified up or down.

Now, as to the intermediate courts - whether called a court division, appellate division, or what you wish, it is unimportant - I adhere to the Hendrickson Commission report, the 1942 report. It seems to me that the system will be more flexible and more efficient if the judges were assigned to the appellate division or divisions and the court or courts - call it what you please - by the chief, the highest administrative officer of the court system. I think that makes for flexibility and efficiency, each judge being assigned where his


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