N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 165


STATE OF NEW JERSEY CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION OF 1947
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
Wednesday, July 2, 1947 (Morning session)

the organic law. Certainly I think our own State has not been remarkable in change. That is essential to the change from error. There seems to be some considerable apprehension about the problem of integration as it affects the courts of equity. Dean Sommer can likely tell much better than I could - I refer to experience, and Chief Justice Brogan has had a longer term - of the success of the system in New York. I think that the equity side was brought in as part of the general partnership, and very effectively. I saw it operate as a much younger man than I am now. I saw judges translated from one court to another with apparently no friction and with the same degree of success on that side as on the law side. Of course, the general court structure certainly ought to have a pattern that would follow to some extent the New York structure, I think. That again, as I say, is a matter of implementation.

As far as my own experience is concerned - I say that without egotism, I hope; I would rather say "we" than "I" - we in the Pleas for a great many years (just going back to the history of the Pleas) have been sitting in on the civil side, on the criminal side and on the probate side, and I think with reasonable effectiveness. Not all judges are men of equal merit. Some are better than others. Most of those that I have met are very good judges, but I haven't noticed any degree of shock if a man goes from law court to probate. Of course, maybe I haven't interrogated the bar as closely as I should. Sometimes lawyers don't tell us the truth about ourselves when we are justices. I say, seriously, that I see no shock by that translation.

Now, it seems to me that we all concede, we who are lawyers, that equity generally is founded on a series of broad maxims and a philosophy which is as well known to the other lawyers as it is to me, and the action proposed is largely the problem of equity. There are confusing human factors, rather unusual situations. But the general philosophy which I have presented is more or less of an umbrella, and in bringing litigants in under that, it would seem to me a no more serious problem than it is in Pleas to go from one branch to another, and it might well make for better on-the-job decisions. That is my entire opinion.

Of course, as far as the general construction is concerned, the extent to which you would go, how many courts should be brought in - it would, I think, seriously be an intrusion for me to say, because I haven't been able to give the present plan the same first-hand examination as I was able to give the last, principally by reason of lack of time. I haven't had time enough. You men probably know that the circuit has been short for some time, and I have been travelling from Camden to Trenton, Woodbury, New Brunswick and Newark.


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