N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 160

Tuesday, July 1, 1947 (Afternoon session)

conduct their business.

MR. SMITH: You were speaking of prerogative writs. You mentioned a section in the 1944 provision that would cover it, and Chief Justice Brogan said, "Could that not be covered by rules," and you said, "Yes." If the court of last resort felt the prerogative writs were not inviolate and should be changed, would it be possible to forget the changes proposed in the revision?

MR. WATSON: I would favor a constitutional provision, such as was cited. Where application is made for prerogative writs, the courts would grant such writ as the facts and circumstances require or justify. I think it should be constitutional. As Dean Sommer just said, the courts couldn't do that now. I think it has not been done.

Now, just one more point, and that is court administration. This entire court system should be administered by the Chief Justice, or whatever his title might be. He should have an administrative assistant. As Chief Justice Case said, that would be a considerable administrative chore, and the Chief Justice would have to rely very heavily on his administrative assistant. Nevertheless, the system prevails in the United States. The Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court is the administrative head of all the courts. He has an administrative assistant and it works very well. If you think that would be too much of a burden for the Chief Justice, there could well be a presiding justice of this law section, a presiding judge of the equity section - call him Chancellor if you would - who would be responsible for all the administration of each of the two sections. They in turn would be responsible to the Chief Justice. That would lighten the administrative work and streamline it, the way executives like Mr. Smith do in their blueprints.

MR. SOMMER: That would have the advantage in the first instance of having some person who is familiar with the work of the court, and actually they would be concerned, they would be the ones making the assignments.

MR. WATSON: I read in the paper just yesterday that the Court of Pardons, meeting this term, was amazed by the conflicts, dissimilarities, lack of policy, in the imposition of sentences in the criminal court. In some cases defendants convicted of crime were dealt with severely, and others lightly. In an administrative system such as this, the Chief Justice, the top man of the courts, would be the presiding justice of the lower courts, and would see to it that the judges sitting in the counties in criminal cases, had some rhyme and reason, some theory, some coherence about the imposition of sentence.

MR. BROGAN: You would never get through with a thing like that. How could you superintend that?

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