N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 189

Wednesday, July 2, 1947 (Morning session)


VICE-CHAIRMAN: Yes, except the way equity is now practiced, most of our important equity principles are decided by the trial judge in the same way.

MR. HARRIS: I don't know why in Section V, paragraph 4, the Senate should be both the prosecutor and judge. Has anybody given an answer to that?

MR. BROGAN: Are you talking about impeachment?


MR. BROGAN: We won't have any need for that - that is, we hope.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: We haven't talked about it, but there have been certain plans submitted to us, in writing. I don't think any, as I recall, have expressed it orally. Of course, we will have to come to that, and one of the proposals was that the impeachment of lower court judges be left to the higher court. Another proposal leaves the situation as it is today. Do you have any thoughts on that?

MR. HARRIS: I don't see why the upper court shouldn't discipline the lower court judges and I don't see why, if the upper court judges ever have to be disciplined, which is very unlikely, it shouldn't be as it is now. There should be a charge made by the lower House and trial had in the Senate. That is the proper way, I think. I don't think the Senate should be both the prosecutor and judge of any man's position.

Why do we have an age limit? I am a little bit concerned about that.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: Are you opposed to any age limit?

MR. HARRIS: Yes, I am opposed to putting it in a Constitution.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: What tenure would you give a judge?

MR. HARRIS: Life, after seven years.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: In other words, under your proposal, you would appoint a judge for life without any termination.

MR. HARRIS: I would leave that to the Legislature.

MR. BROGAN: They have changed it constantly.

MR. DIXON: Take the case of a judge disabled, mentally or physically, how would you take care of that?

MR. HARRIS: By the Legislature. Why put that in a Constitution, you don't do that here?

MR. DIXON: That's an omission there, judging by some of the people who appeared before us.

MR. HARRIS: I don't think pension should be in the Constitution, or disability, or age. The time and age of a man for retirement from the high court depends on that man. Some of them ought to get out at 50.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: That is contrary to the federal practice ...

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