N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 170

Wednesday, July 2, 1947 (Morning session)

MR. DIXON: Another point that I think ought to have some weight in this connection, and it has considerable weight with me, is that if we retired the judges at a reasonable age, instead of letting them go on as they do now to a point where they are not very efficient, we would not have the situation where they not only are giving an inefficient administration of justice but are also blocking the progress of a lot of very able men who could step into those positions if they stepped out. If the process is fluid it certainly does inspire more of the younger men if they can see a wider opportunity to advance in the judiciary.

JUDGE BRENNAN: It sometimes happens that these men are not advanced to these higher positions in the judicial structure until they are relatively well along in years, too.

MR. DIXON: I am thinking that that would clear the way.

JUDGE BRENNAN: Well, it might or it might not. That is theoretically perfect, but it depends entirely upon those imponderables connected with the appointive power. The Governor, no matter who the Governor may be, has certain persons in mind whose qualities he admires, whose ability he thinks is great. As I see it, there is no hard and fast promotional system.

MR. DIXON: That is true.

JUDGE BRENNAN: That you can consider in the light of intrusion of the Chief Executive.

MR. DIXON: It is hard for me to picture a situation where the Chief Executive makes very many mistakes - where he doesn't do a fairly good job of selection.

JUDGE BRENNAN: I would say, by and large, that's true; but, of course, you are pointing toward a situation, let's say for example, where a man around 40 might go to the Supreme Court.

MR. DIXON: We are thinking of a judicial council. I don't know how it will work out - I see quite a little difference of opinion on how it would work out - but I suppose if you set up the council (think of it as perfect or imperfect), where we had a selection of names by the members of the State Bar Association, perhaps some laymen, perhaps some members from the Supreme Court - regardless of how it is set up, just think of a council of that complexion selecting names. I know there is a little difference of opinion on it but -

JUDGE BRENNAN: I don't like that technique. I think we still should reserve power of appointment to the Chief Executive, with the advice and consent of the Senate. I think that is his function and I would resent intrusion on that as I would on the judicial body.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: Would your opposition extend to a proposal that merely meant that the council would recommend but that the Governor would still have the right to appoint?

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