N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 16


STATE OF NEW JERSEY CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION OF 1947
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
Tuesday, June 24, 1947 (Morning session)


Transition

equity judge, the admiralty judge, the bankruptcy judge, etc. In other words, he is the judge before whom you appear, and he hears all your cases, with no separation at all. There are legal questions that may be raised as to how he exercises those functions when he administers equity principles, etc., but I don't think we have to go into that now.

I just wanted to clarify your thinking now, so that when later speakers refer to these various systems you will have it clear in your own mind and will know exactly to what they are referring. Of course, in our system we have a complete separation. We have a Court of Chancery, which is a separate court. We have a court of law, which is a completely separate court.

Mr. Hendrickson referred to the Missouri plan, which is relatively new. Under the Missouri plan a commission submits names to the Governor; the Governor, in turn, selects from the list submitted by the commission. Incidentally, under the Missouri system they have not only that, but it is followed up by an election to which the Senator did not refer. His reference actually was to a so-called modified Missouri plan which simply contemplates a commission to submit names to the Governor, and the Governor is to select from those names.

As to the courts' administrative head, we have no statutory provision comparable to those referred to by the Senator. However, this subject will be referred to from time to time, when the need for designating perhaps one judge to be head of the entire system is mentioned.

As to an administrative director, we have no such officer in our present system. We do, in our federal system, have an Administrative Officer who takes care of the administrative features of the whole court system. He is not a judge, he is there to see that everything is functioning properly, to get the most efficient service out of the personnel, and to see to it that decisions are expeditiously rendered. He will recommend to the Chief Justice when certain areas need additional judges, or when there is a surplus of judges in any area or division.

There was some reference to the removal of judges. We will have to consider that subject as we go along. Removal, under our present system, is by impeachment. Various alternatives will be submitted, such as that the judges of the Court of Errors and Appeals, or whatever you may call the court of last resort, will have the right to hear proceedings to remove lower court judges. That will be one of the proposals made to you. There will be alternative proposals.

It will be helpful if we try to keep the various proposals in mind. Then you may direct your questions and ask why they think their particular proposal is better than some other proposal.


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