N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 151


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

talents are most productive and where he is most efficient. But there is nothing dogmatic about that. I wouldn't object fundamentally to permanent assignments to the appellate division or to other branches or divisions of the court. It has been asked, where would you draw the line between your fundamental organization and detail? I think that is a matter of opinion, but my personal opinion is that much of this could be left to the Legislature.

Thirdly, that members of the judiciary - and I stress this with every power of persuasion that I have; I regard it as the heart of any judicial system - third, that the proposal should provide an independent judiciary, achieved by life tenure during good behavior, and it is immaterial whether it be from the time of appointment or after one term. The one-term provision is a compromise and perhaps it rests on wisdom, but life tenure during good behavior with compulsory retirement at age 70 or 75, I think that is relatively important. I would incline toward the 70 age. Large corporations with retirement systems now usually retire executive officials at 65 or 70, and with that should go an adequate retirement allowance.

When our judges accept a judicial appointment and retire from practice, if their judicial careers terminate, it is very difficult indeed - Chief Justice Brogan is one of the very rare exceptions - it is very difficult indeed, and I have had opportunity for observation along that line, for judges to reestablish themselves in private practice. So therefore, with the retirement proviso should go adequate retirement allowance - pension, if you will.

Now that, gentlemen, I think is the heart of any judiciary system. It is not conducive to justice in public law cases, or in cases involving political questions - I am not now speaking of private litigation - it is not conducive to sound justice in such cases that judges be subservient now, or in the near future, to the appointive power or to election. Let's repose justice in the minds and consciences of judges who are independent, who are not, so far as is humanly possible, involved in the practical effects of their decisions, and who administer justice as they see it. As I said, I want to stress that with every power of persuasion that I have, and I sincerely hope that this Committee will introduce such a proposal.

Next, we come to a unified court. Now, we have started with the court of last resort, with an appellate division or appellate court, and next we come to the court or courts of original jurisdiction - the courts which try cases in the first instance. We have been speaking about appeals.

Now, Mr. Dixon asked a question as to whether anybody can have a jury trial. Well, very briefly, Mr. Dixon -

MR. DIXON: In the middle of their case.


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